I often have to remind many veterans among me that we should memorialize the Canadian brothers we lost on Juno Beach on D-Day. (Yes, Im not Canadian but many people forget our “pale necked” brothers sacrifice on that day).
Memorial Day became a different day to me in the past few years. Outside of being enraged by mattress sale advertisements, I do remember those that fell during their service to our nation(s). I am also saddened by those servicemembers that come back home and take their own lives during one of the largest battles of their lives. The battle that they were never assigned to fight.
I don’t share the numbers. We have organizations for that. I drive by an army hospital on occasion and I see the flags in their lawn. It is a warning and a reminder.
It was a tragedy that we ignored. We watched the body count rise and obituaries posted for a faceless former servicemember. Many of us didnt know better but we were watching it in action. We saw them struggle and thought nothing of it. Some of us couldnt be bothered to mourn, we watched the proverbial train head down the track.
I was one of those watching. I had a Persian Gulf vet struggle, in his own quiet way, He was rumored to be a combat vet. (He ended up getting hurt at work and his struggle came to light when he popped a drug test). I had another coworker who had actually shown signs of PTSD. He suffered in silence and got caught drinking on the job. (Years after we both got fired, he made his rounds in the arrest column for drug related charges).
I easily could have said something or been the dick to encourage them to seek help, not to vacuum up a check but to get the help they need/needed. I could help by giving a shit.
I might have never known combat or the horrors but I could be someone that gives a shit.
I had my own brush with darkness but I knew a few people that cared enough to be there for me.
Be there for those veterans among us that are in dark times. Please help steer us back from the quiet genocide, one veteran at a time.