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Wounded Warrior - Pain and Pride

Updated on July 21, 2015
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Pain and pride go hand in hand for many of our wounded warriors. They are trained to endure pain and many are too proud to ask for help. They are after all, the brave men and women who have promised to protect and serve. Their stories vary but the common thread is their courage in the face of life-changing tragedy. They have protected us on far away places and we owe it to them to take care of them here at home.


"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men are willing to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell


The Stories

  • The pain is invisible to all but those who know him. Only his family knows that he can’t sleep at night. Only those who love him see the blank stare that sometimes robs him of emotion. Only a few, a very few, see the tears. He is a warrior and in his world, warriors don’t cry.
  • She was a nurse with dreams, before the IED took her legs. Her future was bright and back home, the love of her life waited for her to return. They had plans for a wedding, children, the house in the suburbs but the plans would wait until her tour was over. Neither of them ever talked about the “what ifs”. They were afraid to. Now, she stands on artificial limbs, looking in the mirror, alone. He just couldn’t handle it.
  • As a squad leader, it was his job to keep his men calm while they dodged mortar, suicide bombs. And ground fire from insurgents. When the Humvee they were riding it exploded, he did his job and he did it well, even when his team leader was dying in front of him and he learned that a medivac chopper couldn’t land in the sand storm that was raging. He kept everyone calm until help arrived, never thinking about the pain in his own back. Marines don’t think about themselves that way. They take care of their men first. Back home, it wasn’t so easy. When his young daughter asked one too many questions, he lost it. In a fit of anger, he snapped the gear shift right off the console of his car. It was time to get help. The PTSD was taking him down.

These are not rare stories and they don’t scratch the surface of the pain of wounded warriors. Some have visible injuries; the kind that strangers can see and sympathy comes easily. But some have the invisible injury of traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); the kind of wounds that only veterans and their families know about living with. They are all wounded warriors and they are all our responsibility.

Resources

Their medical care is provided through the Veteran’s Administration, but it is often slow; too slow. Any veteran who has sought care through the VA Medical system will tell you the system is difficult to navigate and getting lost in the system happens all too often. A recent report stated that there are about 391,127 pending disability claims that have long ago passed the Veterans Administration’s goal of processing claims within 125 days. Many are now in their second year of pending status.

Many of our brave men and women return from service broken and too worn out to know how to begin seeking help. We owe it to them to reach out and help but we need to educate ourselves on the resources that are available to our wounded warriors. The following table contains contact information for various services provided by the Veterans Administration. If you know a veteran or wounded warrior who needs help, call the appropriate number.

Veterans Administration Contacts

Problem
Phone Number
Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255
Benefits, General Information
1-800-827-1000
Homelss Veterans
1-877-294-8380
Health care - find a local center
1-877-222-8387
Veteran Education
1-888-442-4551

The Easy Way or the Right Way

How does one repay such bravery? How can we take away the pain? The easy way is to write a check to a charity that helps veterans, wouldn’t it? Even those words should remind us that our soldiers don’t take the easy way out when it comes to protecting us. There is no comfort in the jungle, where insects bite without warning and the nights are so cold and damp that one wonders if they will ever be warm again. There is no comfort in the desert, when summer winds blow the heat and sand against your face so hard that you hardly recognize yourself in the mirror. There is no comfort trying to sleep when you are too afraid to take our eyes off the darkness.

Where is the comfort in picking up the pieces of your buddy and putting them in a body bag? Is there comfort in sending the letter home to his wife? Was it easy to walk up to the door of her parents' home, to tell them she wasn’t coming home? No, it’s not easy. There are no easy way outs for the soldier who has given blood, sweat, and tears so that we can live, love, and laugh freely. We can take the easy way or the right way to give a little back.

The Right Way - Ways You Can Help

Donations are wonderful and there are many charities that do amazing things for our veterans who return with injuries visible and invisible. But sometimes the thing that is needed most most is real people doing real things to help them take the next step in recovery.

  • Some may only need a good listener, someone who doesn’t need to talk but is willing to really listen.
  • Some may need a ride until they can transport themselves again.
  • Some may need help completing forms or writing a resume.
  • Some may need help with household repairs or adapting the home to their disability.
  • Some may need help communicating or with physical therapy.
  • Some may just need a friend, someone to take them for a ride or for a walk.
  • Some may enjoy a visit with your pet or your children.


The important thing is to do what you can with the resources and skills you have. There is nothing like human touch, warm smiles, and shared tears to help the healing begin.

If you have a little extra love to give away, consider a wounded warrior. You are needed and you can make a world of difference. Someone is waiting for you to reach out. Don’t keep them waiting. Help them replace the pain with pride.

Read more of my hubs here.

© 2012 Linda Crist

Comments

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  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Lipnancy! Thanks for reading this one too. Yes, the system has improved a lot. I just don't think we can ever do enough for these men and women who serve so bravely. And we sure don't do it fast enough in many cases. I am so grateful for what they do for us.

  • Lipnancy profile image

    Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

    Yes I agree that the veteran system can be painstaking slow for acceptance, but when you are finally accepted, they do wonderful things for our veterans. I am very pleased with the Veterans Administration of today compared to 10-15 years ago. And yes it still needs improvements.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, I cried all the way through that Criminal Minds show. I'm such a softie for our veterans. Thanks for you sweet comment. I know your heart too , you know.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, you are such a crusader for humanity - all across the board. I cannot fathom what our military see on the combat line. If they come home with all their body parts, their sleep will forever be scarred with what they have seen.

    By the way, I saw that episode of Criminal Minds. It's crying shame what our returning heroes are subjected to.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Teresa! Thank you for sharing my feelings. Sometimes I am like a dog with a bone and just won't give up on something. Out veterans are one of those subjects. lol Reminders of how we fail them seem to be the theme for me right now. Even last night, when I turned on the television, the theme of the show Criminal Minds was of a decorated Marine Sargeant who was living on the street, homeless. All I could think of was "I'm not doing enough". The reminders seem to be everywhere. I am so glad you stopped by. You have encouraged me.

  • phdast7 profile image

    Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Thank you Linda. A much needed and very well-done reminder of who they are and the price the have paid for America...and who we ought to be and how we can and should be helping and serving them.

    Blessings. Sharing. ~~Theresa

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Kathleen. I'm so glad you found my hub, especially after having a negative experience somewhere else. You know, I really think most people in our world are good people but the good ones rarely seek attention for all the good they do. Don't give up on people. Just file those negative experiences under "idiot" and keep moving forward. :-)

    To answer your question...I don't think you can repay the service, not really. But we can sure show these brave souls our appreciation and help them when they need us.

    Thanks for being here today.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi shiningirisheyes! It's just so easy to get busy and forget. Or, some have never been taught that freedom isn't really free. I think that's why I feel so passionately about bringing attention to the issue. Thank you for sharing my passion.

  • Kathleen Cochran profile image

    Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    How does one repay such bravery?

    You've given us a start. l hit your hub after a rough round commenting on a political hub thinking the worst of people. You reminded me of the best in people. Thanks.

  • shiningirisheyes profile image

    Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

    It is a sad state when our Country continues to ignore the most valuable of our citizens. Our country exists because of the sacrifices selflessly made by our brothers and sisters in arms as well as the family's of these proud souls.

    I am voting this awesome hub up and then I am sharing it.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Bruce, if you're not careful you're going to earn a gigantic place in my heart and once you get there, I'll never let you go. You have just given me an amazing gift. I write only because I care and sometimes I don't know any other way to contribute to this world. If you were moved to action by something I have written, that is powerful and makes me feel worthy of the air I breath. I mean that. You are a genuine hero in my book. I've already thanked you for your service but I will do so again, and again, and again because...you didn't stop when you got home. Thank you! I am such a happy old woman tonight because of you!

  • Born2care2001 profile image

    Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 4 years ago from Asheville NC

    Hi Linda,

    I wrote a comment earlier and found that I didn't send it. Poop! Well, I guess the hub I wrote as a result of reading this hub will just have to do to demonstrate my gratitude for its value! See What Good Does Activism Do? One Poetic View.

    I will tell you that there is a VA Hospital a few miles from my home and I am going there soon to see how I can use my gifts to help those in need!

    I am truly grateful for you!

    Bruce

  • Born2care2001 profile image

    Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 4 years ago from Asheville NC

    Hi Linda!

    You broke my heart, made me cry and lifted me up all at the same time. I will never again support sending our people into a senseless conflict, battle or war. I am a veteran, one of the lucky ones I suppose, never to have been injured physically or mentally by my experience.

    I have seen what you describe first hand and it saddens me that we can spend so much of our resources in egotistical fluff and oh, so little to honors those paying the ultimate sacrifice.

    The impact of your hub is incredible, for me and to all those who choose to entertain the vision of what these men and women go through. It's not all bad, mind you, but so many fall through the cracks without help.

    We have a veterans hospital here in Asheville, a few miles from my home. I don't know much about the psychology of rehabilitation, but because of your article, I'm going to find out. I have a gift of encouragement and I use it with men. You have helped me see another need that I can fill.

    Thank you for this wonderful hub, for your care about our service men and women and for your timely writing here on Hubpages!

    I am truly grateful to you!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi MH! There is a time and a place for everyone, isn't there? Sometimes people just don't know where to start. You're not one of them. You do so much for others already. It's who you are. Thanks my friend.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for raising awareness about this. If I weren't own myself, I would be leading my Toys for Tots troops. As Thanksgiving draws near, I wonder who is filling in for me at the Glide soup kitchen.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Bill, can you believe it took me all day. I am so leary of recommending organizations, especially when so many of them mis-use or abuse their donors and volunteers. And of course I have so much respect for our veterans that I wanted to be helpful and not just a bleeding heart. Whew! If even one gets help, it was worth it.

    Thanks for waiting on me. :-) I'm headed your way now.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I was ready to shut down for the night and up popped Linda...so, I guess I'm not ready to shut down quite yet.

    Beautiful tribute my friend; everything you said needs to be said hundreds of times each week. Raising awareness is the only way to get the change that is needed, and hubs like this one go a long way in reaching a worthy goal.

    Well done, Linda!