Emotions of War Zones run from relieved having survived to demons that haunt the soul.
For many combat Veterans discussing the fighting or loss of friends is like bragging, they survived when others didn’t.
“The pain of losing someone that you have become so close with is like losing family, the memory never really goes away.”
Most combat Veterans do not know how to share their experiences
without feeling remorse. The “code” of honor was imaginarily broken because they could not save their brothers or sisters in arms. Even when it was beyond their control.
Discussing with other combat Veterans is one way to help expose those emotions with someone that really understands. Combat Veterans are not in the “Real World” they are assigned to a combat zone. Some GI came up with the term “Real World” meaning home. Home isn’t some foreign country you are sent to fight. That is military requirements because of your affiliation with the Armed Forces.
The “Real World” is your neighborhood, your hometown, where you live. In a war zone the “Real World” seems a million miles away. There are days you are sure you will never see the “Real World” again!
“Emotions of War Zones” lead you down many paths. You can become bitter and
vengeful for what happens to your fellow shoulders. Others become methodical and tyrannical treating everyone within the country with disdain.
Other become reclusive withdrawn in their thoughts paralyzed by the mission requirement. They go through the actions and process of their duty almost mechanical. They have empty eyes, with emotions concealed far into their souls. The only hope for a normal re-entry into society is talking. It is either professional or with others that lend an understanding ear.
Many times loved ones are the last people a combat veteran wants to talk too. The reason is simple, the veteran does not want you to know what they did or went through. They love you and want to shield you from the horrors of war and fighting.
What you see on TV is not even emotionally close to what a soldier feels when they lose a member of their squad or platoon. The relationships that are created become emotional and dependent. You know everything, about their family, their friends, music and dreams. That can all be shattered in a second. It can be a rocket, bomb or sniper or a firefight that changes a soldiers life. It only takes one!
Some veterans go through multiple encounters and start getting the adrenaline rush from each encounter. Nearly all combat veterans returning into society after serving in a war zone will have some type of adjustment period.
The “Real World” is some distant dream and then you are back! Now what? How do you explain your emotions, those feelings? Who do you share your emotions with that will understand?
The returning veterans can do themselves and you a big favor by discussing with another combat veteran their feelings. Talking to someone that has been there and made it back.
The “Emotions of War Zones” never go away. Combat veterans are impacted for
the rest of their lives. Today I ride a bike on a paved trail that was converted from a railroad track. These trails are called “rails to trails” programs. I enjoy my rides and use them for my mental and physical health. A couple sections on the trails always make me on edge. It reminds me of the perfect ambush area. My head knows better but I still can’t shake the feeling. I left Vietnam some 44 years ago and little things still haunt me like it was yesterday.
My father was a WWII combat frogman. Before seals were in existence. His job, dismantle or disarm explosives at bridge crossings as the allied forces marched through Germany. He didn’t talk much about his actions during the war. He never was quite right socially after the service, according to my mother.
I have talked with hundreds of combat veterans and most will talk with me. Yet they will never talk to their own loved ones about their experience.
Veterans are not alone, get professional help or find a veteran group that offers free counseling. You have a whole life to live, enjoy it without the emotional baggage of your service.
To all combat Veterans, we salute you! Thank You for your Service.