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.
In our son Noah's case, it took a lot of guts and him repeatedly asking for help. He overcame the extreme resistance of his non-commissioned officers (NCOs), the unit/group resistance and his personal reluctance to say, "I'm f!@#$ percent up and I need help." He knew that he could no longer "suck it up," as his NCO commanded. read more »
The civilian job market is tanking. Troop deployments are being scaled back and veterans are looking for answers. What comes next? Who has the answers? The guidance given to transitioning soldiers is insufficient, and doesn't properly prepare them for reentry into civilian life. read more »
We remain left with the almost eternal question of what society expects of the veteran and what the veteran expects of society. With PTSD, it seems the burden rests completely on the veteran, and society gets to behave like a foolish child, taunting and calling names. read more »
That's when members of the staff began hurling insults in English and Spanish, and throwing plastic garbage can tops in our direction. Two employees punched me while on the sidewalk outside of McDonald's. In disbelief, I kept taking photos of them. As they stopped, I called the NYPD, who quickly arrived on the scene. read more »
Sometimes, the best thing we can do is care that someone lived that kind of reality and knew those kinds of moments. Sometimes, all you need to do is listen to their stories and be thankful inside that you have none of your own to wake you up at night. Sometimes, I think it's more important to care in a way that makes you a little bit uncomfortable.read more »
Our son has been home from war four years and medically discharged for two. His reintegration has not been without its roadblocks and setbacks but, for the most part, like a significant majority of veterans, his life has moved forward — not always in ways he imagined, but forward nonetheless.
No surprise in the lessons we have learned: the people who have helped him the most in his continuing journey have been his family, friends and the veterans' community — especially "The Bridge Builders," described by poet Will Allen Dromgoole as those who cross the chasm and stay to build a bridge for those that come behind.read more »
A very experienced and learned psychiatrist once told me that the mind can compartmentalize things. What this meant to me was that I took my Vietnam battlefield experiences and put them in a box, so to speak, and tied down the lid with locks and chains. I did this in an attempt to forget the whole thing and never have to deal with it again. It did not work. read more »
Returning from war is one of the hardest adjustments a veteran must make, second only to combat. Physical and psychological wounds, emotional distress and spiritual tumult can all pose enormous obstacles during reintegration to civil society. Since the effects of war are many and unique to each service member, the government and public sector, communities as well as families, need to become more aware if we are to better care for our millions of veterans. read more »
War, with its related losses and acts of love and courage, is still a mostly unfathomable topic to the average person. As a soldier's wife, I am confronted with thinking about it often while trying to keep my marriage strong under the constant strain of repeated separations and adjustments of military life. read more »
I am a soldier's mom. As a non-commissioned officer once brusquely reminded me, I was "just some soldier's mom." I may never have been to war but I have sent a child to war. I have never had a child killed in action, but I have had a child wounded in battle and am witness to that living child's invisible wounds of war. 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.