There is something profoundly important about being heard. We all know what it feels like to be in a conversation with someone and they are going through the motions. They appear to be "present", but you know they have no semblance of understanding for what you are saying or even absorbing the message you are sending. It saddens me when I hear this time and again from veterans because I can hear them loud and clear. The message is always solid, the communication direct, and the sorrow and frustration clearly painted. However, speaking much louder than those things is their courage, their ability to complete a mission, their skills, their intelligence, and their willingness to put their life before others on a battlefield.
Our veterans have the skills, the know-how, the brawn, the might, the courage, and the strength to battle the demons of the world, but they do so with the support of their platoons, their officers, their fellow service members, their sergeants, and an entire tactical support and intelligence teams. How on Earth can we ask them to now fight alone with no team in place and expect them to feel worthy of their own life?
Let's remember they need a platoon here, now. A squadron of support. A Unit that has "intelligence" to feed them to know how to proceed. A set of commanding officers to offer coordinates of what direction to head in. They need their fellow service members to have their backs. They need every community to be acting like they are part of the mission at home. Forming "units, squadrons, platoons" of people who aren't there to feel sorry for them in their battle, but to offer them coordinates, direction, opportunities that make them feel connected, skilled, capable, worthy, and strong. Thank you is appreciated, but it isn't enough. We have to step up and show them that we know how to serve in return.
The troops that have crossed my path know that I don't believe in feeling sorry for them. I believe in showing them that the battle isn' t over and either are they. They need to know they are heard. So let's be sure we make that happen.
This Christmas make an effort to let these veterans know where the resources are. Find them. Share them. Let them know we hear them. Know what's available for them in your communities wherever it is that you live. Be a resource and know that you could be saving someone's life by simply sharing a place for them to be heard.