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Thread: I have been honored to spend my life attempting to serve others. But I didn’t start out at 19 looking to save the world or lay my life down for my country. I joined out of heartache and desperation.
I felt inadequate, inadequate to be a boyfriend to the girl I liked, inadequate to move out of my parents home, inadequate to complete a semester of college, inadequate in getting off the recreation drugs I’d been experimenting with to battle depression, I felt unequal
I joined the Corps at the behest of my best friend, no it wasn’t even my own idea. On all accounts my reasons for serving were... self-serving. This isn’t an exception, it’s quite common.
We applaud veterans for service and sacrifice... and by God we should. But we have to take the time to understand who they are and how they got here if we’re going to attempt to help them, or challenge, to get where they’re going. Here I’ll list or dispel some common falsehoods
When men and women join the military they are prescribed a mission, a purpose in life. When all of you are spending uniquely important years finding what drives you, or becoming passionate about a career path, these men and women are accomplishing goals that were set for them.
In actuality these goals are healthy, honorable and productive.. but they are unique to the individuals. When veterans get out of the military those goals go away... their mission... their purpose goes away. Some are self-aware enough to set new goals, they inherent have a drive
But many, those you hear about most do not. They can’t simply go drive a UPS truck, weld, crunch numbers or study. They have a void that they can’t indetify that causes new jobs or even careers to feel flat. They’ve been bred to believe in something bigger than themselves
This is a key factor in many many more issues we a knowledge such as PTSD, suicide, alcoholism, insomnia and pain. Unfortunately it’s one we never address. It is the silent invisible weight on their shoulders
Employers expect that veterans are natural born leaders. Aside from a cultural expectation propagated in the Marine Corps, most vets aren’t expected to lead, they’re expected to follow with good order and discipline. They aren’t good leaders, they are great followers.
Veterans NEED good leaders, they need an occupation that promotes a shared mission, they will rise to the challenge of a good lewder, and inversely they’ll become stagnant with a bad leader. They are not menial task work drones.
We can try to educate and change civilian employers, but that’s not going to happen.. what we HAVE to do is train these young war fighters to 1) know what they need to be fulfilled or 2) find purpose in life even if it’s outside their occupation to fill their void
This isn’t the responsibility of the @DeptVetAffairs alone. I’d argue it’s hardly their responsibility at all. The @DeptofDefense trains vets for 3
months to join, for 6 months to deploy, for year to promote and.. 2 weeks to leave service. The disparity is obvious.
We beat up on the VA because of a thr mental health problems within our veteran community.. let me propose... by the time we know about them, a host of things have contributed outside their combat experiences. It’s not (just) a combat trauma problem. It’s a training problem.
The onus should be on the @DeptofDefense to 1) set realistic expectations and not make empty promises in recruiting 2) provide opportunities for AD members to learn life skills outside military responsibilities and 3) train existing members to be civilians again
This is the 1st war generation EVER to look to the govt for guidance, resources and answers on “what’s next” in life simply because we served 2, 10, 20 years of our century long lives. That’s irresponsible. If we want to be successful after service, we have to own it, work for it
It’s not healthy and it creates a narrative crutch vets use to stay stagnant. We no longer have a superior holding us accountable, setting our goals or cheering us on. We have to learn to be our own. We have to learn to use the abundance of resources available
Today’s veterans shouldn’t be coddled simply because yesterday’s veterans were spat on. Those with a guilty conscience have to live with it, you can’t make up for it by pacifying the next generation of heroes. Politicians have hijacked reality in lieu of votes.
They tell us

“we need to take care of our vets better and I’ll do that”

instead of

“our vets need a chance to succeed and they’ll do it.”
An acutely Republican congressman will truthfully bloviate as the inefficient and antiquated nature of a brick and mortar VA with a $200M budget, then he’ll lobby for more $ for the VA clinic in HIS district.. those ppl aren’t the answer. WE are.
We set the expectations and we can hold our govt and ourselves accountable. “Veteran” is an important part of who you are, but it shouldn’t define you. Become yourself again. Set goals, achieve them and know you can do it. Look forward.
This is not a rhetorical “personal responsibility” post, it’s a realization that we’re doing and saying the wrong things in society to fix a big problem. We can’t beat up on VA every election cycle and expect a change.
If Politicians get elected (rewarded) telling you what’s wrong-What incentive do they have to fix it? The is a societal problem, needing societal awareness to remedy. Lastly, there ARE vets who have mental health problems and deserve free and good treatment. This isn’t about them
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