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.
When I graduated with a four-year degree at the age of 26 — a degree I started working towards when I was 18 and fresh out of basic training, people asked me if it was nice to be debt free. "Why would you think I am debt free?" I would ask. Most of my friends and colleagues assumed that the military had paid for 100 percent of my college tuition, books and housing. When I told them just how inadequate my actual educational benefits really were, they would look like a child who just found out there was no such thing as the Easter Bunny. read more »
I can totally deal with the physical separation, sleeping alone, managing the household, work and children. What kills me is the silence, the curiosity about the small details of his day and the ceaseless wondering about his personal thoughts. read more »
Every Christmas Eve, the story of how The Tree came to be is told — our now-grown children still insist that their Dad tell the story, even when he or I protest that "Everyone knows the story!" It has become a tradition in our home and one in which our children willingly and eagerly participate. read more »
When I came home from my second tour in Iraq in 2006 and departed the Army in 2007, I had no idea I would have to personally battle for my own rights — rights I committed to protect for the better part of my life. I knew that recovering from war was going to take time, but I never, in a million years, thought that I would have to defend the right to live in my neighborhood and go about my day just as any other person does. read more »
Employment issues can be extremely vexing for many veterans trying to readjust to a civilian life. This readjustment may be a long process for some veterans, who may have ongoing issues like physical and mental disabilities. Using my own employment experience as an example, and compressing 40+ years into a few paragraphs, there are a few things that do stand out — perhaps sharing them will help add to the veteran's understanding of how to navigate the civilian workplace. read more »
By choosing to write about the tough parts of homecoming, I feel like I am breaking the Army Wife Secret Code of Silence. This internal code of conduct helps us suck up so many of the challenges that military life offers, taking in stride what we know would tear others apart. So we remain in the shadows, content to let the rest of the world create romance out of what can be one of the most difficult periods in a military marriage — reintegration. read more »
Soldiers have a hard time re-establishing themselves in a workplace where employers admit to not having a complete understanding of the qualifications ex-service members offer. Already undervalued, veterans also lack critical career advancement skills — such as networking and salary negotiation — because they have received no exposure to these skills in the military. It is no wonder that so many veterans have opted to re-enlist rather than face long-term unemployment. read more »
For those that truly have PTSD — that is, when the symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS) have become chronic — it is the bogeyman behind every door, hiding in every shadow; it is the invisible monster that has stolen the smiles and maybe even a part of these soldiers' souls. These young men and women fight every day trying to get that stolen piece back and to keep from losing more. It can be incredibly tough for those veterans and hard for their families. read more »
It looks like I'm in for an early Christmas present this year. My husband is returning from his latest deployment unexpectedly early and just in time for the holidays. I'm thrilled! We have not had much in the way of holidays together the last three years. read more »
Because I was a veteran, housing asked a few students (all U.S. citizens) if they would mind rooming with me. They told housing that they were afraid I was going to get up in the night and kill them... Had I concealed my Vietnam veteran status, none of the above would have happened. These lessons taught me that society wanted nothing at all to do with veterans. They did not want to know, they did not care, and I felt despised and feared... 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.