Someone said “Happy Veterans Day”…wtf?

Time is faster here in the states.

Every day seems like a Friday, like the end of another week. It’s there, it’s gone. October, now November. Thanksgiving will arrive, then the cold. And then Christmas.

And it’ll be gone.

I ran into a guy at our laundry building, started talking. He’s with a military police unit, on his second marriage, and preparing for his third Iraq deployment in a few months. We talked about time and how fast it goes.

“You won’t be seeing me after this month. My wife and I just got a house–nice place, three bedrooms, one and a half acres. Living here was just supposed to be temporary. That was 2003. Then came the deployments. It just goes so fast when you get back, there was never any time.”

I can see what he means. You kind of walk around in this dazed state. They say that goes away, but it’s still going strong. I’ve been back two months? Eight weeks? Wow.

I guess it’s the dreading of the next go’round that fuels the quickening. It’s like waking up twenty minutes before your alarm, tired as hell, trying to squeeze as much sleep before th–and there’s the alarm. Too fast.

I’m sure this whole next however-many-weeks will go by just as quick. Then will come the field problems, the training, and all the other trappings that goes along with preparing for deployment to a combat zone.

The thoughts about time over there are always flying through our heads. Can we ever get the war out of our minds? Will I ever have a day or so without wondering what I should be doing to prepare, or where I’ll be next time, or what I’ll be doing?

The first waves of divorces are tricking through our unit. It’s normal, people say, as spouses find their husbands aren’t the same anymore. Not in any sort of psycho way–ok, maybe for a few; but people complain that we aren’t the same as when we left.

Well, neither are you, neither is this place. Neither is going to Walmart or smelling the Fall. Alright, I guess I can see where those spouses are coming from. I can feel the change too.

It’s weird how that happens, the changes. I mean, I want to be the same guy, but I don’t know if I’m supposed to just accept these new moods and outlooks, or try to get back to who I was before I left. Seriously, though, who wants all this introspection, when Joke-boy Josh is lurking in there somewhere? I don’t either. I’m driving myself nuts just living with myself.

It’s Veterans Day and we’re supposed to look back and reflect. Clicking on to CNN and counting the dead this month doesn’t count. Body counts aren’t remembering. You have to feel the weight of it. You have to let it soak in.

Don’t dally on me, I’m here, time is flying for me. Pretty soon I’ll be 60, with two page views a day on this thing, griping about how OIF XXXIV was way harder than OIF XIX or OIF XXIII. It’ll be cake.

But seriously, go take 10 minutes and don’t say a thing. Just picture as uncomfortable you’ve ever been, add loud noises, and the immanent threat of death. Then pray for a veteran.

###

About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

4 responses to “Someone said “Happy Veterans Day”…wtf?”

  1. BWJones says :

    Salmons,

    Just make sure that you keep life in perspective. Do not let yourself become jaded or cynical as deployments have a way of doing that to folks. The frustrating thing to me is how little VA funding is going towards counseling or even post deployment debriefing/discussion. There was a time when certain groups (typically SPECOPS) would get some “re-socialization” training, but with the numbers of vets we have coming back, there are no resources. This is especially true given the VA funding cutbacks over the last six years or so….

  2. wilsonian says :

    “I want to be the same guy, but I don’t know if I’m supposed to just accept these new moods and outlooks, or try to get back to who I was before I left.”

    I don’t know that it’s possible to “unlearn”. The guy you used to be knew less about compassion. He was less patient. Less able to process the inevitable BS that comes with war. He was less sure of his friendships. Less sure of his skills.

    There is always loss. But there is always room for gain.

  3. salmons says :

    BWJones: I can definitely feel that cynical bit coming on, but you’re right, that’s not the way to go, either. Seeing the new numbers every day just wears me out.

    Wilsonian: Very true. And it’s hard to regret anything, since that changes your basic makeup.

    All in all, thanks for the lift up. Even soldiers fall behind sometimes!

  4. Felyne says :

    “Seriously, though, who wants all this introspection, when Joke-boy Josh is lurking in there somewhere?”

    That sounds so familiar to the problems I’m having with what I write on my blog. People are used to happy Felyne, and the moment I post something mildly depressing I get a wadge of emails telling me not to kill myself. It’s fairly insulting, really.

    I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t have to be Joke-boy Josh 100% of the time. Introspection can be a good thing, I mean, how else will you find the answers you’re looking for?

    As for change, if we didn’t change then life would be incredibly dull and boring. Plus its inevitable, so you just have to accept it and welcome it, rather than hope it doesn’t happen.

    That was supposed to be uplifting, I’m not sure it was. :S

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