Armed forces service members deserve more than one day of recognition.
Regardless of affiliation: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Guard every service member has an urgent sense of duty. A duty of responsibility deeply embedded in their psyche.
Army Code of Conduct Section VI: I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.
Kenneth Bottomley a 100 percent disabled, retired ARMY vet shares his stories in an effort to help others. In his article, Journey to Become One of America’s Finest, he gives a vivid description of his first morning of basic training.
“Reveille plays, the thunder begins, and then the wrath of god is unleashed in a storm we never expected. This is our first actual day in basic training and the Drill Sergeants are beating on trash cans and yelling as if the world were coming to an end.” Bottomley said.
Bottomley who is now working on a book, “Breaking the Chain,” is passionate about community and its youth. Currently he speaks at engagements sharing his experiences and advice. He is an example of how one can turn around difficult situations and make life better.
The journey to a “normal” life for a retired vet can be very difficult due to experiences never shared because living the moment once was hard enough.
“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” said Bodacious the Emissary, “is a very complex trauma in which only others who are suffering from can fully understand. The biggest fear soldiers and veterans have is, can they trust.”
Veterans suffer from several physical and emotional traumas do to their commitment to the service. Transitioning back into civilian life can be difficult, painful and complicated, but certainly possible.
“I was ARMY and no matter what any of our ranks were the bond everyone talks about we never saw rank when in combat. Rank to us meant we had experienced more stuff and survived.” Bodacious said.
It appears service members continue to relive the experiences encountered while deployed. In an effort to move forward the negative memories must be removed.
“Active duty, veteran or civilian, stop letting your head think negatively and judge what it does not understand, because that is where and how it allows your heart, which is your soul to become miserable.” Bodacious said.
Americans live freely and safely thanks to human beings who have risked their mental, emotional and psychical well-beings so that others can live in peace. The sacrifices are continual and never ending.
“Displaced and without purpose is how I felt,” Rodrigo Garcia retired Marine said.
He points out there are several community programs which afford opportunities to anyone looking for it.
Transitioning in life regardless of affiliations can be difficult but it is possible.
Military Handbook offers easy to understand information regarding pay benefits, retirement planning, education benefits, career decision and more. The handbook is one of many free programs available to help during the complex transitioning times.
The U.S. Department of Labor reminds anyone considering a career with the military to learn as much as they can about military life before joining. Transitioning in life regardless of affiliation is not easy but is possible.
Next time you see a soldier in passing make sure to thank them and their family for their continued sacrifices.