HOOAH!: Strong

Chad Graden
cgraden@css.edu

“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a band-aid” -Michael Connelly

In today’s society, we are trying desperately to ensure everyone has the freedom to feel equal and welcomed. So, I am not sure why there is this terrible stereotype that all of our soldiers coming home from the Middle East are bringing severe mental issues with them. This isn’t always true, obviously, but the ones who suffer from an illness, such as PTSD, are not being treated fairly.

I have a neighbor that seems to think it’s okay to make fun of me around Independence Day because he believes that fireworks somehow frighten me. This is not true and I don’t suffer from any form of post traumatic stress, but according to him, I do because I am a Veteran. Even if I did, does it make it okay for him to treat me this way? The stereotype is judgmental, and shouldn’t be used. This way of thinking is unfair– it’s like saying that all muslims are evil terrorists, when we know this isn’t true.

As you may notice, there are some signs throughout our communities in front of residences that ask people to be cautious of using fireworks because there is a combat veteran who lives there. Yet, we are still hearing from different people who poke fun at this, and ignore these requests. I also hear people who joke around with the idea of not sneaking up on a Vet, or not making a sudden loud noise because a Vet will drop to the ground and, essentially, freak out.

With this being said, shouldn’t we be treating our veterans better? These men and women have volunteered to serve our country in hopes to keep us safe. As a society, we shouldn’t be making fun of people who are scared of loud noises or suffer from PTSD. Veterans may not seem like it, but these folks have been trained to carry out missions in impossible situations. So, that stressed out Vet may seem weak, but I promise that he/she is not.

Veterans are strong and dedicated people. I can almost promise you all that if there was a situation where someone would be in severe trouble, a Veteran would come to help without being asked. Just because their time in service has ended, their watch never will. Veterans love our country, and many of them have decided to serve to protect her citizens.

So, in a society where we are coming together and embracing our differences and beliefs, it’s also time to stop treating our veterans like second class citizens. Veterans are strong, and are valuable members to our society.