There are many courageous men and women in this great country of ours who so selflessly devote their lives for our freedom, sacrificing their families and risking their lives for the sake of others, even the unappreciative. For most of our soldiers, each day is lived on a prayer while they fight a battle that neither side truly wins amidst the death that war inflicts. I often wonder what compels them to so readily volunteer for such agony, but I realize that it’s for the greater good, or so the veterans in my own family say. Whatever each’s reason is, I thank him or her tremendously for it.
For so many of these soldiers, the scars of war cut much deeper than combat. The massacres that they have witnessed, debilitating fear and unwavering strength and courage that they are forced to maintain have left wounds that are far more than just physical. The war has followed them home as they struggle to cope with guilt, flashbacks and nightmares, always in defense mode and unable to trust even those closest to them. Some must relearn life with prosthetics, wheelchairs or even worse. Their minds have been reprogrammed and they are different people than when they left. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is very real and the real battle of war. Though there is help for those who suffer, so much more needs to be done to prevent the depression and suicide that seems to go hand in hand with it. Our veterans are crying out for help, their lives forever altered, and it’s the least that we can do to give back.
My novel, Bleeding Panther, is a testament to PTSD as told from a Marine’s wife, the story of how the devoted Adam Koehley returned from war a mentally wounded man and the effects that it had on his family. It is a raw and uncensored glimpse into just one example of what our soldiers live with every single day. God bless them all.