You know them; the seemingly grumpy old men in town. The ones that fly the American flag proudly (to code, I might add) and don’t shy away from political opinions. The ones that have stickers on their bumpers, tags on their trucks, and hats on their heads, representing a most defining time in their lives.
These old men have seen more than most of us ever will.
You know them; the families that aren’t around on New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July. Every year you ask them to participate in the community fireworks, but they decline. Have you ever thought…maybe there is a reason?
PTSD is real. Don’t overlook it.
You know them; the people that have left to fight a war and return home a seemingly unrecognizable, different person. The shell of their body might be the same, but their insides are not.
Don’t push them. Count your blessings that they’re here.
You know them; the kids with a parent here one day and gone the next. You ask them when Mom will return and, almost gratefully, the blissfully unaware child doesn’t know.
This is their reality. Help them along their way.
You know them; women becoming mothers alone in a delivery room with a husband long gone overseas.
Be there for them.
You know them; the ones that don’t want to talk about their time in the service. They served the country proudly, but they want their privacy intact. Understand that there will be things that bother them that you are immune to.
Respect them and their boundaries.
You know them; the men and women in our communities that have worn the uniform proudly. Uniforms, guns, and swords hang in closets waiting for their turn again one day, but while Taps plays, it will be the last time they’re worn.