I have a lot of connections to the military, both past and present. I fly the American flag 24/7. Yes, it is properly lit. I went outside yesterday and switched out the American flag for my POW/MIA flag that I will leave up until Monday in honor of my friends, some of which I can tell you their names and most of which I can’t. I have the privilege of writing this in a sate of freedom because of the military, not because of our government that no longer takes care of our veterans. I won’t apologize, I’m very biased on this subject.
I believe in my heart there are three different definitions of a POW. First: the military member that was/is actually held by the enemy. John McCain is the one I think of first. Second; the veteran that leads a “normal” life, but has nightmares about his tour of duty, maybe is getting some help dealing with PTSD, talks to his brotherhood, other veterans, about what he had to do and what he witnessed. Third; the person sitting at a bar who talks about his tour of duty like he came home yesterday, and it was actually many years ago; he/she doesn’t identify with todays life, feels alone and contemplates suicide on occasion. There are about 20 veteran suicides a day. Some have sought help and couldn’t get it, some never sought because they couldn’t admit the tough guy needed it and others because they lived in too rural an area to have help available.
Any veteran that did as our government directed will never be free of the memories. I know a WWII and Korean Was vet whose job it was to load bombs. He has told me, “I have no idea if any of the bombs I loaded were ever used, but it eats at me day and night.” He generally stays awake at night, and sleeps during the daylight hours. Tears form just writing this. He’s a really good guy, a great poet and he has my utmost respect.
There is a 90 plus year old lady in my home town that still wears the copper bracelet with her sons name on it; James Moore. It also has the date he went missing in Viet Nam. She never forgets either, and neither does her family.
I know this isn’t my usual type post. I’ll close asking you to remember any POW or MIA with respect. And while we’re at it, the American Flag and what it represents is why our veterans suffer with their memories.