Seldom do we recognize those who deserve to be immortalized. I have never served in the military for our great nation, but I’ve had a number of friends and family members who have. I just wanted to take time out today to thank you for serving our country. I can’t imagine what you have gone through on the battlefield, nor do I want to undermine anyone’s personal version of PTSD. But I imagine this is how I would feel if I were put in your position:

Healing hands are needed in the midst of my darkness. I kneel, praying in my room, calling out to God to take the pain away, take the anger way, take the blame away. I think of my fallen comrades, my best friend on the battlefield who risked his life and died for me; all because of what? So I could live another day with doubt, worry, or shame that comes with this wretched life.

I am a tortured soul, one who cries out for help because of what I’ve witnessed and experienced. When I signed up, I thought, this would be cool: a way for me to fight for my country, to show to those people who didn’t believe me. A way to get away from the evil that I’ve brought into my own life. I am doing something for someone, risking my life, so others may live.

My unit is all I live for. They are my lifeline, my purpose, without them I am lost. But now that I am out, I just think to myself, what’s next? What now? How can I go on? My heart longs for that companionship again. I need to feel needed.

I’m stuck in the daily grind of a 9 to 5. I need to get out, but how? How can I get back to where I belong? On the battlefield, with Turf, Gonzo, or Al. I wonder… I wonder if my best friend is in Heaven, if not, maybe I don’t want to go. He personified what it was to love someone as yourself. “Death does not sting the dead. It stings the living, and I pity the living,” he said during his last breath.

But I must go on, carry on for his sake, and for the sake of everyone else’s lives I’ve been touched by. Making sure that their friends and family know just how brave they were in the face of their biggest fear. Evil does not take a day off and if we stand idly by it is likely to attack and show its ugly head when we least expect it.

Please…Please…Please thank a veteran today. Their sacrifice sometimes goes unnoticed. Shame on us for taking advantage of them. Without them we would not have the freedoms we have today.