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Not All Wounds Are Visible, And Some Return But Never Make It Back

Memorial Day 2011

I do not know the source of the following quote, but it has a profound effect on me whenever I ponder it, “Only one bullet, one mortar, or one roadside bomb separates Veteran’s Day from Memorial Day.”  I’d like to bend your thinking about these two days a little.  On Veteran’s Day, we celebrate those who have served on our behalf, on Memorial Day we commemorate those who served and gave their lives.

I have the distinct honor and privilege of having served 7 years so far in the U.S. Army Reserves.  I have completed two tours in the sandbox as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and later Operation New Dawn.  This Memorial Day I will be toasting those I have known who sacrificed all in the Global War on Terror.  I think especially of SGT Kruize, who we lost in Baghdad on Easter Day in 2010 due to non-combat injuries.  I think of the 5 Soldiers in the Humvee I saw destroyed in front of my eyes.  I think of the fathers, brothers, sons, cousins, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends who will be absent from the dinner table this Memorial Day.  While much of the country kicks off the beginning of summer with BBQs and picnics, days at the lake and a three or four day weekend, many of us find ourselves caught in a vortex of emotion that is at its most intense on this, one of the most sacred days of our year.

There is a line in the narration that accompanies Queensryches, “If I were King,” the Marine telling of his experience states that even if he were to live the most perfect life and do as much good as possible, he still wonders if it would make up for the guilt of what he had to do for his country and for making it back alive.

Post traumatic stress disorder, survivor’s guilt, the inhumanity of decisions and actions – both direct and indirect – that ended the existence of another human being.  Nightmares, flashbacks, jumpiness, sleep disorders, moodiness, irritability, fatigue.  Broken bones, missing limbs, respiratory illness, headaches, seizures, personality changes.  Failed marriages, disconnection from children, parents, siblings and friends, the loss of the joy of life.  Deep inside, a loneliness that cannot be expressed, because making the decisions they made, righteous though they may have been, caused a disconnect from the society of humanity.

If you know a Veteran, especially one that has been directly exposed to combat, they probably experience or have experienced some of those things listed above.  Some wounds are grotesque and horrifying to the sight, some wounds are not visible at all.  Soldiers are tough, it is part of the job description, and because of who they are and what they stand for, they will hide their infirmities as well as they are able.  As we think of those who did not return from war, also think of those who returned but may never truly make it back.

Memorial Day is a sacred day.  For those of us who breathe the beautiful and precious air of freedom, we owe a debt we cannot repay. Let us never forget the sacrifices made for US.  Do not allow the day to be one of sadness, rather one where we revel in the freedom and joy that has been bought, just do not ever forget the price that was willingly paid.

According to the Wounded Warrior Project – 1 in 5 returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD and major depression.

Please consider supporting worthy organizations such as these:


https://woundedwarriorproject.org
– Help Veterans recover in countless ways
https://soldiersangels.org Let those still serving know you are here for them
https://www.militaryfamily.org – National Military Family Association, supporting Veterans, their families and their survivors

Most of all, exercise your freedom.  Be active in politics, so that the Nation that they fought and died for remains free and true to the Constitution they swore to defend.  As we consider the Presidential campaigns beginning to take shape, remember that the primary responsibility of the person holding that office is to be Commander-in-Chief of tomorrow’s Veterans – and tomorrow’s fallen Soldiers.  This Nation is unique upon the earth, and while Soldiers can protect it from the dangers without, it takes Patriots fighting with weapons of pens and keyboards, posters and telephones, and words and deeds, to protect it from the dangers within.  God bless America.

Cross-Posted at Redstate

UP version slightly updated

Scott MacHardy
Retired Army. Disabled Veteran. Constitutional Conservative. Ordained Minister.

11 COMMENTS

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11 COMMENTS

  1. I want to sincerely THANK YOU Hooah for posting this here for all to see. It is a real honor to have you at Unified Patriots and I want you to know that your service is the ultimate sacrifice one American can give to another as far as I am concerned.

  2. It is a day of Remembrance, we remember the good and the bad. We remember the pain and the sorrow, and we remember the triumph of freedom over tyranny.

    It is a day of honor and respect. To those that served and gave their all. It is a day to comfort those that lost their loved ones.

    And as you’ve noted, Hooah_Mac it is a day to remember those that have returned to us, for comfort and sustenance.

    We are here for you.

  3. God bless you and your brothers in arms, Mac. I appreciate your service and love our soldiers and sailors more than you guys will ever know.

    And thank you for the links to those organizations. I haven’t done anything with the other two, but I love the Wounded Warrior’s project. That one is close to my heart (and checkbook.) Please everyone, contribute to these worthy causes.

  4. Hooah Mac, I am so happy that you found your way over to Unified Patriots. Thank you for your service to our country sir, both in the military and with the battle against the Liberals, whose dictionary does not include the word freedom. I still remember you getting in your vehicle, and traveling to that little remote New York district to try to help Doug Hoffman beat the Democrat, and the Democrat lite. Prayers for your continuing journey to find inner peace.

    Today we are supposed to have temps in the 90’s. We will be watching over our burgers and corn on the grill in tank tops and shorts, rather than burqua’s, because of people just like you Mac.

  5. Absolutely wonderful message, Scott. Not only those who died, but those who suffered and continue to suffer. They also sacrificed for our freedom and our Nation. We owe them so much.

    And we owe you so much as well. You make the case eloquently, without mentioning what you have also suffered.

    Quite in character.

    • Thank you. I didn’t mention what I am going through because it isn’t about me. So many have seen so much worse than I and have given so much more. I suppose it is ironic that with my experience I still look at a kid fresh out of Basic and consider him a hero that I should look up to.

      Every day I am more convinced that we need to do what it takes to bring this country back to the course our founders set it on. In the military it is so easy – a target is defined and you have the tools and the training to take it out. In the blogosphere we seem to have figured out how to identify targets – we get PID and then what? We lack the tools and the training to accomplish the mission. That is the biggest challenge for those of us here at UP and the other places we frequent – creating the strategies, the tools, and the training to accomplish the mission. Look for a diary and the unveiling of a website designed to begin addressing this issue in the coming days.

      It is a shame that some young men leave their sanity, their body parts, and even their lives in the desert halfway around the world to secure more freedom for a foreign people than our current overlords allow us here. We cannot, we MUST not, allow this to stand.

  6. Thank you so much for your service, your efforts against Scozzafava, and for joining us here. You do honor us by sharing this day with us. As SEC says above, many of us here remember you taking off for NY-23 and also taking the time to report back with timely updates. By thanking you, we express our undying gratitude for all who went and did what they could to preserve what we hold so dear. May God bless you, Mac’. In honoring our wounded and veterans we honor also the sacrifices of those who never returned. America is in danger now, as she has been in the past. It is up to us at home to earn what our military has so freely given us to preserve.

    Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

  1. I want to sincerely THANK YOU Hooah for posting this here for all to see. It is a real honor to have you at Unified Patriots and I want you to know that your service is the ultimate sacrifice one American can give to another as far as I am concerned.

  2. It is a day of Remembrance, we remember the good and the bad. We remember the pain and the sorrow, and we remember the triumph of freedom over tyranny.

    It is a day of honor and respect. To those that served and gave their all. It is a day to comfort those that lost their loved ones.

    And as you’ve noted, Hooah_Mac it is a day to remember those that have returned to us, for comfort and sustenance.

    We are here for you.

  3. God bless you and your brothers in arms, Mac. I appreciate your service and love our soldiers and sailors more than you guys will ever know.

    And thank you for the links to those organizations. I haven’t done anything with the other two, but I love the Wounded Warrior’s project. That one is close to my heart (and checkbook.) Please everyone, contribute to these worthy causes.

  4. Hooah Mac, I am so happy that you found your way over to Unified Patriots. Thank you for your service to our country sir, both in the military and with the battle against the Liberals, whose dictionary does not include the word freedom. I still remember you getting in your vehicle, and traveling to that little remote New York district to try to help Doug Hoffman beat the Democrat, and the Democrat lite. Prayers for your continuing journey to find inner peace.

    Today we are supposed to have temps in the 90’s. We will be watching over our burgers and corn on the grill in tank tops and shorts, rather than burqua’s, because of people just like you Mac.

  5. Absolutely wonderful message, Scott. Not only those who died, but those who suffered and continue to suffer. They also sacrificed for our freedom and our Nation. We owe them so much.

    And we owe you so much as well. You make the case eloquently, without mentioning what you have also suffered.

    Quite in character.

    • Thank you. I didn’t mention what I am going through because it isn’t about me. So many have seen so much worse than I and have given so much more. I suppose it is ironic that with my experience I still look at a kid fresh out of Basic and consider him a hero that I should look up to.

      Every day I am more convinced that we need to do what it takes to bring this country back to the course our founders set it on. In the military it is so easy – a target is defined and you have the tools and the training to take it out. In the blogosphere we seem to have figured out how to identify targets – we get PID and then what? We lack the tools and the training to accomplish the mission. That is the biggest challenge for those of us here at UP and the other places we frequent – creating the strategies, the tools, and the training to accomplish the mission. Look for a diary and the unveiling of a website designed to begin addressing this issue in the coming days.

      It is a shame that some young men leave their sanity, their body parts, and even their lives in the desert halfway around the world to secure more freedom for a foreign people than our current overlords allow us here. We cannot, we MUST not, allow this to stand.

  6. Thank you so much for your service, your efforts against Scozzafava, and for joining us here. You do honor us by sharing this day with us. As SEC says above, many of us here remember you taking off for NY-23 and also taking the time to report back with timely updates. By thanking you, we express our undying gratitude for all who went and did what they could to preserve what we hold so dear. May God bless you, Mac’. In honoring our wounded and veterans we honor also the sacrifices of those who never returned. America is in danger now, as she has been in the past. It is up to us at home to earn what our military has so freely given us to preserve.

    Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

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