The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
To my fellow veterans and their families and friends
Monday, May 26th, 2008
Memorial Day is a day where our country pauses to remember the brave soldiers and sailors who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Many people celebrate this day once each year, but as a disabled veteran - I think about it every day. I will never forget those who made it possible for me to be here and still be very vocal about my beliefs, even when my beliefs are not very popular and may even differ from the policies of our leaders.
We must remember all of those who died, but we also must not forget about those who will be forever maimed, mutilated, and psychologically destroyed in the name of "democracy" Our troops ship out as naive young men (and women), but come back as exhausted and jaded men / women whose lives will never be the same. War is just like that. The whole goal of war is to kill people and destroy things.
My friends who are Vietnam veterans still meet once a week in a support group to try to work through all of their issues. These men fought in the jungles, so there aren't as many "triggers" here at home, but they can never erase the memories of how they fought and what they suffered through over there. Our soldiers coming back from Iraq are not fighting in desert sands - they are fighting in the towns and cities. When they do come back home, they are going to be completely surrounded by "triggers" which will constantly take them back to their battlefield mindset. We teach them how to kill, but no one teaches them how not to kill when the war is over. Every time they walk around a corner, they will remember the war. Every time they open a door, they will remember the war. Every time they pass by a window, they will remember the war.
I am outraged that our government has made no plans to take care of them and there are no preparations even being made to reintegrate our soldiers back into our society. We must remember the dead this Memorial Day, but it is our "walking dead" that need our help the most right now. We, as citizens, must step up to help them, because none of our leaders are interested in doing the job. The last study I read showed that on average, 18 veterans commit suicide each day. We have to come together as a proud nation and help heal all of these warriors. They deserve so much more!
Many people ask me how to help them without "supporting the war" and the answer is actually easy. If you can spare some money, donate it to the USO (uso.org) which provides the much needed recreational activities, makes every soldier feel at home no matter where they may be stationed, and they actually care about the welfare of our troops. It also doesn't have to cost money. If you are a business person, help our veterans find a good job. If you see a soldier or sailor in a bar, thank them for their service and buy them a cold beer. If you are out and about and see them - take a second to shake their hand and thank them for serving our country.
All of these things I mention are not about giving them special treatment - it is giving them the respect and honor that they have earned and they deserve.
I am proud to be a veteran, and I am proud to be an American. I hope that one day the people in this country will move beyond all of the labels that we place on people. I am not just a "Native American", I am a proud American. There shouldn't be any "African Americans", "Latino Americans", or any other labels we attach to our people. We should always honor and remember our heritage, but in order to survive with peach and happiness we must look to our future as one united people. Just as "Americans", as "neighbors", as "citizens", as brothers and sisters, as family.
I hope each of you have a wonderful memorial day weekend, but let's make a promise to each other that we will be thankful for our veterans on every day of the year. Our POW-MIA (Prisoners of War / Missing in Action) must also never be forgotten!
Thanks for taking time to read this message!
-- Gary Wright II