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What you don’t understand about Veteran’s Day

By: Elizabeth Crane

Frank Spady Door Gunner Viet Nam

I will write this for my husband, the warrior and Vietnam Vet. I will write this for those suffering with PTSD from their loyal service to our glorious country. I will write this for those that don’t understand the effects that war has on our young men that serve our country so bravely.

Frank Spady back from gun run
Frank Spady in Vietnam in the helicopter where he was a door gunner.

As my husband grows older, his mental defenses let more of the horrors of war creep in. His sleep is filled with nightmares of hand-to-hand combat and manning a machine gun while flying through the air as a door gunner. His days often reflect on his time in Vietnam and praying to just live another minute, another day.

Age does not protect those that have returned from war after experiencing combat. Both young and old suffer silently with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and are haunted with savage memories. Family members find it hard to understand what they went through and how their experiences now carry through to their lives as civilians. Time does not protect them from the ravaging thoughts that bring back times of terror and fear.

Our Veterans and Suicide

Everyday 22 Veterans commit suicide. Let that sink in for a moment. 22 men or women that had a lifetime ahead of them. 22 that will not see their children start kindergarten or graduate college. 22 families and friends that will mourn for the remainder of their lives. PTSD is a wicked force that devastates in ways unknown to many.

Think deeply about what these brave men went through. Their time served included seeing their fellow soldiers wounded and killed. They had to watch as not all could be saved from combat and had to be left behind because a helicopter could not fit all of them in during a rescue mission. Think of those who returned with arms and legs missing and think of those that suffer inside with visions of horror.

These honorable men and women Veterans can never be thanked enough.

Veterans that Make a Real Difference

There are those that dedicate their lives to helping our Veterans. Shad Meshad is one of these men that makes a difference. As the founder of the National Veterans Foundation (NVF), he still works the trenches. He is a Vietnam Vet and spends days going into homeless areas to find Vets that need help. His organization provides services to those trying to go through the endless paperwork of Veteran’s benefits. Perhaps most importantly the NVF suicide hotline helps those who cannot rid their minds of the wars in which they served.

Shad and my husband have become close friends – brothers as such. They both understand what we, as civilians, will never comprehend completely and they tirelessly do what they can to help.

It is more than Parades and Ceremonies

Today we celebrate yet another Veteran’s Day. It is more than parades and ceremonies. It is more than a day off work. It is a day to deeply reflect on how our soldiers protect our country. Through hand-to-hand combat and bombs strategically placed, to those that care for the wounded and those that have to deliver the devastating news to families that their loved one died in service to their country, know that these are true sacrifices to keep you and your family free.

God bless our troops and Veterans who have so honorably served.

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