An Open Letter to the Men and Women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,
We, the ghosts of your past, speak to you from our pain. We are your grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers and fathers in a long line of veterans and their families who have been infected by the pain of war.
You return, riding the high of survival, men of courage returning to join families, country and your old lives. We want to tell you that the life you left, is not the life you are bringing home. You’ve changed, become fired by a government that systematically erased your humanity - for your survival. You’ve become a war machine, feelings tamped down into forgetfulness and your body programmed to survive and forget.
Forget? You may think so, but give it three months, three years, thirty years - it will rise to haunt you. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder reaches its insidious fingers into your lives and the ones you love.
We know - have been haunted for 26, 35, 50 years and are still dealing with the pain. We’ve infected our families, not realizing we’ve lost some of our humanity, our wild child, so to speak - the part that feels, acknowledges, and finally begins to put it aside. Everyone of you may experience our feelings, to some degree, and we speak now to you: there is help through counseling with a Vet Center.
We’ve taught you as parents, grandparents, extended family and government to suck it up. Well, we’ve sucked it up for all these years and remain emotional cripples. Just in the past few months, learning how to write through the WellArts Institute, how to express the fear, anger and pain, we’ve seen a glimmer of the light of healing.
We beg you, don’t suck it up, share with your families. Break this chain of pain for yourselves - your wives - your children, and believe me, they will suffer right along with you and won’t be aware of the reason for your anger or theirs. If you love them, love yourself - you owe it to everyone to talk, cry, share your pain. There are resources available to help you.
Men and women, you have learned how to survive one war - now, your personal war is beginning. We challenge you to fight this war as courageously as the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Families - listen to them. Don’t continue the cycle of your ancestors by putting your heads in the ground like ostriches, afraid to hear or share their pain.
Cut this article out of the paper, put it in a special place, and sooner or later you will need to hear our voices again, offering hope for your crippled spirits.
We leave you a small legacy. This website is for you - with resources and places that can be of help.
Be well. We care.
The writers of “Soldier’s Heart”
Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper
Sean T Lewis
August 31, 2008
Open Letter to the Men and Women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
I am forever looking for resources and things to write about on the internet. I found this "open letter" on the website Soldier's Heart, nothing else needs to be added to this post,