Disabled Veterans: The Truth and Struggle

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Few people have to live through the horror of facing daily death, as a soldier does. Fewer people imagine, not even soldiers, in life that they could have by overcoming that waltz with death and being back home.

Serving in a hostile place undoubtedly leaves scars on the souls of the soldiers. Many times, those scars are also accompanied by marks on the body of our soldiers. The hardest thing when getting off the plane is going home because the same man who came out that door never came back.

They often return without hope, with a knot of questions in their heads, traumatized, with singed skin, with bullet scars, without a leg or sometimes both, quadriplegic, with probes or needing help to feed. Our soldiers face, first, the forgetfulness of the people in their community, their indifference, and even contemptuous glances, the fact that their family had to continue their lives, they have to adapt to the rhythm of life that the family adopted during their absence, or worse still, they face loneliness, that loneliness that has been waiting in their house and assaults it as soon as it arrives or sometimes, waits for the soldier to lower his guard and suddenly comes when they are lying down. They can get tormented, taking advantage of their vulnerability.

A disabled soldier often cannot find a good job, and this profoundly impacts his self-esteem, a soldier who served, who once had full use of his body, capable of working days and feats that no one else could, now he is reduced, with no opportunity to exploit his learned skills in the army. This can lead them to feel alienated from society, from their families. Consequently, their mental image as a protector, strong, athletic, and capable, crumbled before the fact that they could never again protect and serve in the way they have been trained for so many years.

It is why society has to support soldiers who return to civilian life. We have to include them in community life. They have the right to receive dignified treatment, especially our disabled veterans having the right to enjoy their lives, specifically now as civilians. This will only be achieved when we take action to include them as an active and valuable part of society. They, better than anyone, can talk about peace since they have known the horrors of war. They are the ones who know the most about solidarity, dedication, and courage. They, if given the opportunity, can contribute valuable lessons to the community and change the course of the community towards a more promising future, without so much violence, with greater dedication, helping to form better citizens, educating and training men and women who also serve his country, each one from his trench. A disabled veteran is not someone who deserves to be forgotten like an old car in a junkyard. Instead, it is living proof of endurance, a will to live, and the ability to overcome life’s most enormous difficulties.

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