We got a long weekend because well, as my Dad said it would be pretty messed up if we worked Veterans Day. Veterans Day is certainly a good one but I will take any excuse for a 4 day. Wifey and I did some various errands this morning and pretty much just hung out for the rest of the day. Didn't do anything big or special. No parades or celebrations or anything like that. I just didn't really feel like doing much of anything special. Wifey asked what I wanted for dinner (tacos) and suprised me with some Heineken which was cool.
Maybe I should say something cliche about sacrifice and honor and all that but I just really don't want to. I am a veteran in the most literal sense of having personally been in combat and just don't really feel the need.
I can say that everybody is mentally affected in some way by combat. How the mental stuff comes together from your past experiences and personality and whatever experiences you may have in war is truly intangible. I am not going to use value based words like weak or strong but for whatever reason the way people react to the same stimulus and experiences is not at all consistent. It absolutely is not A+B=C. What will profoundly affect one person might not do anything to another.
One interesting thing about OIF and OEF is that our soldier survivability has improved dramatically. Body Armor, new advanced medical training implimented down to the soldier level (in particular needle chest decompression) and better/ quicker access to higher levels of medical care are responsable for this. However an unfortunate second order effect of this (particularly quality body armor) is that while fewer soldiers are dying we are seeing a lot more amputee's. Basically with an IBA or OTV and a helmet on unless the face/ neck gets injured or one is completely vaporised there is a pretty high probability of survival. If you have ever spent any time near Landstuhl Regional Medical Center or Walter Reed you have almost surely have seen the real scars of war up close.
I think about these seriously wounded soldiers (and marines, airmen, etc all) a lot. I don't think you can see a young man missing multiple limbs and covered in 3rd degree burns and not consider it. I think about what their lives are going to be like. Hopefully they can find some kind of a meaningful career and a good relationship and build a life for themself. Unfortunately I believe the statistics aren't optomistic.
Despite my intentions otherwise this got all heavy and depressing, sorry folks. To be honest I just find veterans day really depressing. It is a testimant to my personal functionality that I do not spend it alone in a dark closet with a half gallon of whiskey.
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