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A Soldier's Heart

Updated on July 8, 2012

A Sociological view of the short film

Tina Hancock

The Soldier’s Heart

I chose the film “The Soldier’s Heart” from the suggested library because it has both a deeply personal significance in my life and addresses a real concern for the nation as a whole. The film depicts the stories of soldiers returning from war and the struggles they face adjusting back to civilian life as well as the stigma they receive for seeking out the help they need. It focuses in on the stories of three main characters (soldiers), but their story is repeated over and over again in real life. Their stories can be heard in the words of hundreds of returning soldiers all over the nation.

I saw from the video, from my own prospective, that it seems all too often the persons responsible for studying the behaviors and thoughts of the soldiers seemed to rely too heavily on basic sociology, being that they studied the patterns and made the connections to determine that these soldiers were suffering from a legitimate psychological fracture. Their actions seemed to parallel each other. The sad thing was that although they knew the stresses of combat and the horrors of what they were exposed to during war times needed to be addressed, the retaliation that was given to any soldier who asked for help caused the wrong people to turn a blind eye to the problem. It seems to me that as time has gone by during this never ending war is that applied sociology is now being used more effectively in that everyone now has addressed the need for better psychological training and outreach for both the soldiers and the families who also suffer a trauma with having their loved ones deployed to a combat zone.

I have seen from personal experience, with my husband coming home from a year long deployment to Afghanistan, that the symbolic interaction of the combat veteran soldier is probably one of the strongest interactions there are. There are things that we as civilians never even consider that grab their attention and heighten their awareness. Something as simple as people in the mall wearing the same colored socks can cause a combat veteran anxious and begin assessing the location, looking for things like exits and groups of people. Things we take for granted, the combat veteran seems to lose that innocence and suddenly nothing is ever again the same for them. Everything and everyone becomes a threat.

When in a group of fellow soldiers, the nonverbal interaction of the soldier becomes his most important means of communication. In the war zone they learn to rely on hand gestures and facial expression as means of communication when speaking becomes a means of putting lives at risk. After deployment, the nonverbal ways a soldier still communicates still speak volumes; unfortunately not enough people are educated and trained to see the significance of the gestures. Social interaction with other people is vital to the returning soldier, because when they withdraw from family and friends can be a serious red flag that has to be addressed. It is also vital that they remain in contact and interact with their fellow soldiers, after all, we do not know what hell they endured in combat, and only their “battle buddies” know exactly what they experienced.

Now as I work to prepare myself for my own son to deploy to the same place my husband just came from, I want to educate myself. While I know I am no professional and can never replace the valuable insight a professional can offer my son as he prepares for and, I pray, returns from war, I want to be able to gain enough understanding to be as much help as I possibly can be. I am grateful to see the progress the military has made in preparing the soldiers not only physically but mentally for combat. The post deployment training that I received as I welcomed my soldier home was invaluable. I just feel that maybe there could be more.

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