We were all young, and full of life and promise. Choosing to do a job no one else wanted. We weren’t “Volentold” we volunteered! It was a sense of duty for some. Just a job for others. Some did it to honor the family who came before them. All of us coming from different backgrounds, different lives. All having made different choices. Some have GED’s, some diplomas and some have degrees. Some even joined in order to get citizenship. But we all took the same oath, “to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Some of us went to war and some of us didn’t. But it doesn’t matter! We are all Soldiers! Point and fact!

They say that life begins at conception. Some say it begins at birth. Me, I’m pro-life, but that is a discussion for another day on another topic. If you ask a Soldier when life begins you might get an entirely different answer. This answer comes from those of us who have seen war. The selected few who left part of who we are in a different land, almost like an entirely different world. But we need to understand there are three different Soldiers:

  1. Never deployed
  2. Deployed but never saw combat either direct or indirectly
  3. Deployed and saw either or both

The first time I deployed, I was number 3. The second time I deployed I was number 2 except for

one specific day.  But this isn’t so much about me but all of us who have seen the horrors of war. We are not looking for pity or sympathy, but understanding and patience. After your mind processes everything you have done or seen, it doesn’t work the same as it did before. You’ve seen things you cannot un-see. You have done things you cannot undo. You remember things when you don’t want to! It is not man’s nature to end life or to watch it end catastrophically. We know that we chose this job. No matter what reason, we chose. And now we have to deal with the aftermath of our choices. I mean come on, isn’t life in a nut shell about choices? What we have for a life is a direct reflection of the choices we have made.  No one put a gun to our head and said join the military. It was free will, plain and simple. But is it only the Soldier that suffers? No! It’s the spouse, the children friends and family.

We are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. It’s our spouses and children that pay the price as much as we do if not more. We aren’t patient with our spouses as they deserve. We aren’t as attentive to our children as they need. They deserve more than that. Sometimes it’s more than we have to offer at the moment. It’s as if for us, the war we saw has never ended. We can handle High stress situations like its second nature. Things that most people will freak out about, kind of like the average person would react to breaking a pencil lead when they don’t even need a pencil. But God forbid we drop a soda, break a shovel working in the garden or a pet pee’s on a hard wood floor. Our adrenaline will completely explode out of our ears. Then there is the internal struggle. Why the heck am I so mad right now? There’s no reason for it. But, you’re still yelling and getting louder by the minute.

So, when does life begin? It’s not the beginning, but more of a new beginning. Being reborn under fire, dirt exploding, and dust surrounds you and the air cracking like a whip by your ear. Your muscles tighten. Your skin is on fire with adrenaline. You are super aware of your surroundings. Time slows, You see everything around you in super high def, every dust particle dancing on the wind. And you can process it like a calculator adding 2 plus 2. I personally have a few moments that until this were the ultimate. The birth of my children and my wedding day to my amazing and beautiful wife. But when I first experienced combat, true combat nothing else will make you feel so alive and aware of who and what you are.

The fact that combat gave me that feeling, disgusts me to my core! As a Christian, A husband and a father it’s as if I am at war with myself. Don’t get me wrong, PTSD is not owned by Soldiers. Anyone who goes through a traumatic event can develop it. 9 times out of 10 you don’t even realize you have it, or what’s wrong with you. At that can make it even worse. So at this point I feel like I am rambling on. So I will close for now. Thanks for reading.

God Bless you!

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