My nephew, the medical doctor in the family, and I were discussing veterans from his immediate area of the deep piney woods of NE Texas, SW Arkansas, SE Oklahoma, and NW Louisiana - a lot of land, not so many people. He suddenly looked up at me, made a face and said, "You know, they are not coming back the same way as when they left here."
I instantly knew what he meant. The fact is they never have. The "they" in question would be our men and women veterans who wake up one day and find themselves in the middle of a very real armed conflict with very real implications for making one false step. The truth is this war is no different a hell than any other. War is hell, pure and simple. The enemy of today, as with the enemy of yesteryears, looks like the friendlies. It was that way in Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and now the middle east. And, there is always that one wrong step.
The hard truth is no one who served on the front lines of any war; no matter the who, what, when or where, returned the same as when he, or she left. Deep down inside it is there: the horror, the fear with the taste of battery acid, it never goes away. Only a brother, or sister, who was there could every really understand so they keep it bottled up deep down inside.
Recent studies have shown, there is no possible excuse and there can be no possible justification for this being done - none, the major VA hospitals have been, it is claimed due to budget restraints, using medication to manage patients evidently by keeping them in a state of drug induced bliss. Is this any way to treat the men and women who not only were willing to give life, blood and limb, with some who DID give of limb and blood, in defense of this nation? One key evidence of the decay of a society is when it begins to fail in the care of the men and women who served in the front lines of its armed forces.
You will only ever hear Him in the still small voice, no louder than the sound grass makes as it grows on a warm summers evening.