Monday, October 03, 2005

For Those Who Provide it, Freedom is Never Free

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I was reading over at Seven Inches of Sense today and Joan wrote a post that resonated deep inside my heart. Her writing stemmed from another post which angered me to the core of my being. The other service girls and I had a discussion on this last week...and now I feel that I must write all that I feel.

I truly don't understand how someone could say the things
Freeradio said in that post...I really don't. Only someone who has never been forced to "survive" could say such things. Yeah, there are bad people in every occupational field...but they are most certainly the minority. It's asinine to say that because there are a few teenage boys out there trading their photos for porn that all soldiers are monsters.

Freeradio, if only you could actually understand the anguish and torment that plagues every soldier I know who has had to kill or even wound someone. We aren't talking about psychotic serial killers here. These are regular men (and women) who are willing to risk their lives, go to extraordinary lengths so that we get to sit back and hide behind our computers screens in the comfort of our homes in a land where we have the freedom to bad mouth the people who keep us free.

I have a feeling he would be shocked to hear any EMS worker talking. In the fire service (granted we don't kill people...though I have had to watch them die) we joke about everything...we make light of what we see. It's not because we don't care; in fact, the opposite is true. We care so much that if we don't distance ourselves, the pain would eat us alive. We wouldn't be able to continue doing our jobs. In any job that involves trauma (whether you are the one creating it or cleaning up the mess) there has to be emotional distance...even then there are demons.

As it is, there are images that haunt my mind...if you didn't know me, you might think me callous for the way I respond to medical tragedy or emergency situations. But I'm not, my heart breaks for the people I see...the people I help...those for whom I can do nothing. But without that understanding, the picture of me is far from my reality.

How much more so for a soldier!! The majority of soldiers suffer from PTSD, in large part, because of the atrocities they have witnessed or caused. They aren't inhuman monsters...they are normal people who aren't always given the chance to process and cope with what they have done or seen. How dare people sit in in the safety and splendor of this country and castigate those they can't even hope to understand. It makes my heart both heavy and furious.

If you think the soldiers are monsters, fine, you sit up with my soldier through the nights when he has sit there while he rakes himself over the coals and questions his own humanity for daring to survive and come home alive. You watch that first-hand...then sit back (without the cloak of annonimity) and try to condemn him and the countless others fighting their inner battles.

Joan has it right, as the one in love with my soldier, it's my job to wrestle his demons once he gets home. His job was (and still is) to stay alive. The rest of it we work on together. There are many things he's done that he isn't proud of, but necessity is a mother...and I will stand here and say wholeheartedly, "I don't care what you have to do Clark, you come home to me alive and in one piece; the rest doesn't matter. We will deal with that." These soldiers are good men; good men who have witnessed horrific things...they don't walk away unscathed and that is what makes them human. Not what causes them to lose their humanity.

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." ~Santayana
With that also comes the reality that never will they completely free themselves of the demons...but it's a burden the true warriors take on willingly...not with joy; often it's with sorrow, but someone has to shoulder it for us to remain free and I am proud that Clark and the others made that choice. What Santayana said is true whether the battles are inner or outward...and few revel in fighting them.

(As a sidenote to Freeradio, you say you stand against all police as you realize that if you actually lived in the state you claim to want; you wouldn't be alive to say the things you say. It's these "corrupt police", these "animals" who protect your right to spew such venom. I hope you realize that...oh, and Clark says you are more than welcome.)

Apparently I said something of interest as my words and I were the subject of an incredibly long, inarticulate post. I have so much to say on this subject but I also think, "We're in a loop here, so I'm going to step over here and talk to this guy now." I will keep this post up because I truly believe everything I set forth here. However, I have given this particular individual and his ideas all the time I intend to spend. Stay tuned for Service Day tomorrow. I'll keep ya'll posted.