This is the second part of my Veteran’s Day post. This was to talk about sacrifice and the departure that service brought some of us.
I had been listening to En Livstid i Krig from Sabaton. (Swedish version of Lifetime of War). I found the translation more fitting to describe what I (and a friend from my hometown) went through.
I never saw the war, outside of a personal nature. My classmate Mike, who was in the USMC, saw some conflict. But we both saw our lives change and it often wasn’t what other people knew of.
I wanted to share some of the translated lyrics that described situations.
“I look around and see my home fade away. My time at home seems too short”
Even the first time I was able to come back home, it looked like somewhere I didn’t belong. I did see the last vestiges of loved ones, but it looked like a series of places I would drive past. It didn’t look like the places I used to hang out at and throw empty bottles around.
“Amongst friends from my village, I went out to fight”
Mike and I weren’t the only ones who considered the military. We had several join us in several military branches. One of the biggest jokers joined us, I saw his smiling face for the last time. He is around somewhere, but our lives took us from that normalcy.
And the world burned
I would read about the place that we came from. It seemed to change in strange ways. There was something missing as we were gone. Many missed us and what we could have been to all.
For war can destroy a man, I give my life for my homeland
Mike is a strange shell of a man. He is estranged from his daughters. He went through a divorce after he seemed to lose the last grasp of what he had been. (His now ex wife is someone I cared about immensely. She was a bright spot in the past. It hurt her to this day). I didn’t have much of anything waiting for me back home. A few people treated me like I was a spectacle. I couldn’t speak their language. No one wanted me for work. I lost some of the good things that I was constructed of when I was younger.
Who will mourn me? So see me as a husband, a friend, father, and son…who never comes home.
Mike didn’t come home. He went elsewhere with someone else. He doesn’t have anything from the past with him. I felt like someone passing through when I went to my family’s church. It wasn’t my place, although I had been confirmed and “blessed” there. Most of my friend’s parents, (at least the one’s that didn’t have military family members), looked at me like I was trash. (Construction workers and frat boys were their people, even though they had flaws galore).
Who will mourn for me?
Other veterans. A few family that have adopted me over time, including a Vietnam veteran.
Out there, were death awaits, not heroism
I knew of a few Navy servicemembers that died in the Pentagon attacks, Cole bombing, and ship collisions. I expected to have my chance like they did. It never came for me, but those that we forgot joined the Legion of the Eternal Young. A few of their shipmates carry a huge burden as the years go on.
A part of us didn’t come home. I lost some of what people knew me for. I never had to shoulder the burden of taking another’s life, but part of the good left. I was rewarded for looking the other way ethically.
And when my time runs out… who cares then?
I learned that few do. We lose multitudes to suicide and overdoses. Ignorant people and scum sucking corporations care enough for lip service marketing schemes.
Does a soldier get a worthy end?
Often not. Heart disease or a car crash at the end of struggling decades is what you get. It would have been better that Mike been a statistic on Fox News or I would have been a service to someone with a Colombian neck tie. We are walking zombies in a way where we are at.
Some of us gave more than time for our country. We lost a part of us and we lost people. We became strangers. We also became cold to the lovers who once knew us. I left years ago.
On this Veteran’s Day, embrace those that are trying to find what is left of themselves.
Thank you, friends. Many of you have made it survivable. I may be a long way from home, but I am a short walk from the comfort you offer.