In our first conversation, Coming Home: Veterans Readjusting to Civilian Life, our contributors — including veterans, family members of veterans and members of organizations that support veterans — share their own stories, offer insights on the challenges facing returning veterans, and provide tips and resources on the kinds of support that families, friends and communities can offer veterans.
Honestly, it's extremely difficult to not be classified as "the hero" anymore. I've heard the same story from veterans many times: no one wants to stop being Superman in the eyes of the world. A soldier reintegrating into the civilian world might feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when she realized that the world she knew and understood no longer existed. read more »
The leadership of the military seems to want to convince the soldier that they are now "Warriors." The goal is to make the soldier more effective at killing the enemy by stoking the psychological fires of combat. But promoting this kind of ideology, along with the amazing technology available to the military today, creates a sort of mythical and futuristic landscape that is more pop fiction than real life. And unfortuntely, encouraging the Warrior concept among soldiers can only exacerbate the gap between soldiers and society. read more »
This month marks five years that I have blogged about the experience of being a soldier's mom. It has been five years since I stood at Fort Benning and tearfully (later hysterically) said farewell to my youngest son and his Army brothers ("my guys") as they left for Iraq. These five years have been a wild and horrific — and wonderful — ride. Today I share the most intense of the lessons I have learned. read more »
My husband and I have had so many strained conversations and interactions and adjustments and apologies this last month... I either say the right thing in the wrong words or at the wrong time; or I completely shut down in silence. When I shut down, and we are silent, I sometimes almost wish that we weren't talking because he was in Afghanistan, instead of because it's so hard for us to talk right now. read more »
I thought it was time to make a short list of some of the lessons I learned and some of the observations I made within the posts I've written this blog. These things stand out in my mind as having had continuing importance to me through my 40+ year "career" as a veteran. Also included are a list of outstanding advice from the rest of the blogging team here at Regarding War. read more »
It is important for all of us — citizens who truly support the troops and who honor our veterans — to become active and remain engaged in protecting the warrior legacy. As we head into a new year, I implore everyone in the military, veterans, their families and the general public to learn about proposed and pending legislation and to be energetic in communicating their opinions to their Senators and Representatives. read more »
Each year, an increasing number of men and women decide to leave the Armed Forces. But all too often, these brave men and women don't know what kinds are jobs they are qualified for in the civilian word, what transferable skills they have or how long it will take to find a new job. Leaving the Armed Forces requires the veteran to dedicate some time thinking about what is important and where his or her motivation lies. The challenges of re-entering the civilian work world are plentiful, but can be overcome with significant thought and diligence. read more »
During World War I, both the government and the American public accepted the fact that veterans required medical care and compensation to treat the effects of toxic gas weapons, tuberculosis, and "shell shock" mental conditions. But by the Vietnam era of the 1960s, '70s and '80s, PTSD and the effects of Agent Orange were viewed as the illegitimate children of the veterans of an unpopular war. Perhaps the public and the government thought that these veterans were just money-grubbing, and that they deserved whatever they got. read more »
The relationships between some milspouses (military spouses) are as close as blood sisters. I cannot begin to count the number of spontaneous hugs I have received from and given to other Blue Star moms. We — spouses and parents — form these bonds based on our shared experiences and our shared worry; we find solace and consolation among our "brothers and sisters." We know that they know. It is that way now, as it has been for all the centuries that men have gone to fight, and wives and mothers have sent their men to war. read more »
At the appointed time and date, the person performing the compensation exam strode into the room and demonstratively announced "This is your disease, not ours!" Wow, isn't that a little different! The examiner had a completely unprofessional attitude, and clearly felt he had the upper hand. read more »
Blogger, Some Soldier's Mom. On what it's like to have a child at war.
Veteran and Blogger, Boots to Suits. On veterans — in schools and on the job market.
Blogger and military spouse. Fifteen Months. On the challenges of a military marriage.