Dear Soldier

13 12 2012

Dear Soldier,

I am a citizen, I do not wear a uniform, but I am on your support team. I come to your send-off dinners before you deploy, I am the one waving the flag on the side of the road when your bus pulls back to town, I try to make life a little easier on your family while you are gone. I have been a volunteer in organizing events on your behalf in the community. Soldier, you are a national treasure. You are a window to a world that we never want to see and put yourself in harm’s way so that we may never experience its horror. You liberate the oppressed, stand in the way of those who hate, and protect those who seek to do good. Your commitment to duty is legendary and your loyalty to your comrades in arms is an example of sacrificial friendship that needs duplicated. When you return home you are so soon called to go again and again and again. But you do it without complaint because it is your highest honor as a soldier.

When you finally return to a “normal” life at home, things are different. You are different. You don’t talk about it, but you have seen too much. You have seen evil face to face and never flinched, but now you see yourself and wonder if you can live with what you have become. You come back to a world of a 9-5 job, bills that are due, elaborate shopping malls, political spin, Black Ops, expectations, Twitter, and a pace that you are not ready to handle. You are no longer surrounded by the security of soldiers who have your back, share your experiences, and understand your world. You have a hard time with your job, marriage, and your ability to cope, yet you don’t know why. You seek comfort from the bottle or drugs that will get you through the day. You seek deliverance through the way that so many other soldiers have found it, suicide.

Soldier, please don’t kill yourself. Give us chance to prove to you how valuable you are. Talk to us and we will listen without being judgmental. You are a difference-maker; give yourself a chance to become that person who will influence a child, love an aging parent, and show to us the character we so desperately need. We need the encouragement of your smile, your leadership proven on battlefields, and your calm assurance that will only come with age. Please give yourself a chance. The misery that you are in is not permanent. We will do anything and everything we can to get you through this. You have our undivided and devoted attention. We will not let you down, please give us a chance.

With deepest gratitude,

A proud American

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