By: Don Jarvis – Sept. 2016
Today, someone’s child will enlist in our armed forces, take an oath they uphold for the rest of their life. This individual will stand ready to answer any call or task asked of them; putting everything on the line. This individual will sacrifice everything, their way of life, a limb and even their own life. People like this are not common, but their impact is felt by many.
Fifteen years ago this month our nation came under attack, an act of terror which America has not seen on her soil since World War II. This unimaginable and unforgettable event that took place on September 11, 2001 has forever changed our way of life and changed our focus of military. We have now, more than ever, become focused on defeating terrorists, and terrorist operations, not just on our soil, but around the world. Less than a month after one of the most deadly attacks on US soil our Military set out on their new mission, ‘Global War on Terrorism’.
In October 2001, American Troops enter into combat in Afghanistan, to defend American’s freedom, our way of life and to defeat terror. With this came a huge surge in citizens enlisting in our military; people were proud to be Americans and were willing to sacrifice themselves to defend their country. Not long after entering into Afghanistan, the fight on Global War on Terrorism made its way to Iraq, which meant even more brave men and women leaving their loved ones and families and heading off to war.
Each service member is promised many things in return for their service and dedication to our country, a country that they clearly love very much. Our members of the Armed Forces sign a blank check, with looking for nothing back in return, expect to be taken care of after being called upon to serve in harm’s way. War is no pleasant experience; it’s some of the worst that mankind will bear witness to, and acts of which the human mind and body were not made to endeavor or bear witness too. However, selfless individuals do not let that bother them, they will answer the call, whether it’s on American soil responding to a National Disaster, an act of Terror like the Boston Marathon Bombing or deploying overseas to combat. Our service members are there – no questions asked.
Being a veteran is not easy; you’ve seen things no one else has. You’ve witnessed things that are hard to put into words and experience things that have an everlasting impact on you – some good, and some not so good. Coming back home, being around friends and family can seem to be difficult – they are just not the same. You feel out of place; like something just isn’t right. You have your struggles, your battles – you start to feel unclear on what is reality and confused by just life in general. Behaviors change; you go through a mix of emotions and such doubt of what has happened.
Your experience and military service has changed you; everything seemed okay in the moment, but now life is different – you start to feel the effects of war.
Readjusting is challenging. You can find it may be difficult getting appointments at the VA (Veteran Affairs) Hospital. You start to get prescribed more medication than you get candy on Halloween. Your medical staff is trying to treat your injuries, those physical, those mental, and ones no one can see.
One great service and treatment that is increasing amongst our veteran population are Service Dogs. More and more veterans are being paired up with Service Animals to help them back to their way of life – a battle buddy; someone who has their back -.a feeling of security, one very common to what they felt with their battle buddy in their service. It’s no surprise that service dogs are growing extremely popular and more and more medical providers are recommending them for service members. These service animals can be teamed to sense anxiety amongst their handler, or sense a possible seizure coming on which could be linked to the veteran’s Traumatic Brain Injury sustained in combat. Our service members have given so much; it’s now time to find a way to give them back what they have given us – a quality way of life.
As we sit and reflect on our own life, lets not forgot those who have sacrificed so much more than we could imagine, looked danger square in the eye, and didn’t think twice. Fifteen years ago this morning our lives changed, our world changed. Today, we need to stand together, support one another, and be grateful and supportive of those who lay down their life each and every day. Whether you see a veteran with a service dog walking through the park, a veteran on the bench reading the paper, a local police officer standing on the side of the road, or a fire fighter hanging out outside of the house – Stop, and shake their hand. These brave men and women give everything they have – some with little in return, some fight their own personal battle, and your sign of appreciation could go a long way into helping those who have already helped you.
This month’s ‘Valley Patriot of the Month’ is every brave men and women who selflessly lay down their life and stand by ready to defend yours when mankind has the worst to offer. Without them, there will be no us – and that, we are forever grateful! We stand “United” back those who unite us!