We recognize patriotic holidays to remember the sacrifice of our veterans who gave their lives defending our nation. These are days set aside to honor the veterans still living. These are deeply significant days for us as Americans, but for our veterans, every day is a day of memorial. We honor them, but really know nothing of what they went through. It can be said when a combat war veteran returns home a part of them remains behind. This can be true whether the memories manifest as post traumatic stress or not.
The memories are often deeply disturbing to the veterans even though they may recount them with no emotional significance. It is important for them to talk about their experiences. This is not always effective in the clinical setting. They may open up and share those experiences with family members. As family members, it is important to remember these memories are a part of who our veterans are now. The sharing on a personal level may be difficult for us to hear, but can be very helpful for the veteran in dealing with the associated repressed emotions.
Through the telling of their experiences, our veterans convey the reality of war to those closest to them. By listening to what they have to tell us, we come to understand what duty means to them. What the honor of being a veteran entails. And what exactly they sacrificed as soldiers. These words stop being abstract concepts to us who listen and become very real. The importance of the sharing of these experiences with those closest to the veteran may not be readily apparent.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of listening to the stories of our veterans is what we learn from them. In our history, America has been involved in many aggressive engagements of warfare. Whether these incursions were regarded as wars or not, they involved armed American service men and women directly engaging an armed military force. Nearly every generation of Americans has fought in the service of their nation. What we learn from our veterans coming home may save the lives of the next generation of combat war veterans