Happy Veterans Day everybody. I am writing this post today because I am thankful to the veterans of this country for working to defend the United States, and I want to bring up a valid point about the problems that veterans face day to day. Today I will be interviewing a man who I knew served in the Marines, and has chosen to remain anonymous to speak about his experiences and views.
I had reached out to the Anonymous Veteran (AV) over social media and he agreed to comment over some of the major issues facing vets today.
Me: Hello AV, nice to see you again. Thank you for letting me take the time to interview you.
AV: It’s my pleasure. There’s a lot of things I think people might not know or understand about veterans, especially those with PTSD. I’d like to help get the word out any way I can.
Me: Then we can start the topics at hand; why do you feel that the Government has dragged it’s feet over increasing funding for the VA?
AV: The VA is an amazing organization when it works correctly and despite the governments many shortcomings, I don’t honestly think it’s intentional. Incompetence and poor planning, sure. I don’t think the government took into consideration how much bodily and mental suffering can accrue in over a decade of warfare, and now they’re caught with their pants down.
Me: True, it’s the result of poor planning and oversights over how long the war has lasted. Another issue out there is the large number of homeless vets, what do you have to comment about the large number of people without a roof over their head?
AV: I think homelessness among veterans correlates directly with the awful way the treatment PTSD has been handled. Vets with PTSD feel like they have no where to turn, and don’t ask for help because they believe people will think less of them, or simply not understand, which is usually the case. What adds to it is the pride factor, not wanting to appear weak, but it’s not all about pride. What it amounts to is homeless vets with no one and no hope left, after all they’ve done for the country, and that’s awful.
Me: PTSD has been a great problem since World War I, it’s literally been killing our vets everyday. With that said, why exactly are so many vets ending their lives? What’s the best way we can help them?
AV: I think somewhere around 22 veterans kill themselves everyday. I’ve heard the number is more like 35, though. Vets with PTSD feel isolated and alone, the best thing to do is be there for them, even if it looks like they don’t need you to be. It means a lot.
Me: True, sometimes the best help is to reminds someone that they aren’t alone. On the subject of PTSD and from your own experiences, what can you comment about service members you’ve seen scarred by combat?
AV: I was good friends with a guy who saw his friend and squad mate get blown to pieces by an IED in Afghanistan. For a while, he would get dangerously drunk three or four days a week and either cry or smash things, usually both, until he passed out. He would ramble on about the blood and gore and collecting his friends scattered body parts for transport. Regardless of how drunk he was, he woke up screaming from nightmares at least twice a night. He went on like that for about a year before he stopped drinking so much. He still has the nightmares though, since I last talked to him.
Me: Jeez, that really makes the terrors I’ve faced seem insignificant by comparison. I hope your friend finds inner peace in his lifetime. Do you have any closing thoughts to add this Veterans day?
AV: I personally feel a little awkward when I’m thanked for my service because I know I didn’t do much, but the sentiment means so much. It lets me know that people out there care about me. That’s what vets need, especially around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. If you know a vet, please thank them for their service, just so they know they’re not alone.
Me: I intend too, and I always will. Thank you for your service and your time, it means a lot to me.