We’re collecting stories! How do you separate the war from the warrior?
Veterans Coming Home would like to hear from you about how Americans separate the warrior from the war. We’ve asked around already and collected a few responses, and would like to hear about a time you’ve had this experience, too. Use the form below to share your story.
Here are some stories shared by others:
My partner witnessed horrible things and dealt great agonies in war. He verbalized very little of those experiences, but eventually I came to understand the darkness expressed in his eyes and marked by an unrelenting hesitation in his smile. A man of extremes, the stoic sense of honor, confining strength and pain he always bore were balanced by a gentle compassion, curious mind, and deep sensitivity I tried to make space for in all our interactions. With the turning of a new moon, our relationship ended, but I still hope he found his peace again.
My dad flew helicopters in Viet Nam and Korea. Mostly salvage and some rescue. He is still suffering from what happened in those beautiful countries. And like him, I appreciate complex machines.
I think in the past, when we had the draft, it was a lot easier to separate the warrior from the war. There was an implicit understanding that you were fighting for your country, not for a specific cause. So many of the stories from veterans my generation for why they joined the military stem from 9/11 – fighting back against a specific enemy. I have an uncle who fought in Vietnam, and kept a lot of his experiences there secret from our family for a long time. He felt ashamed of being a part of it – even though he didn’t sign up voluntarily, he carries that guilt. I think a lot of veterans today still carry some guilt around the purpose of war and what’s happened, compounded having signed up for something that doesn’t always turn out the way they’d expected.
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