Today is the day I remember our war dead, and also the living who have returned wounded forever by what they have seen and experienced in the cradle of battle. I worked with returned servicemen for a large proportion of my life, and I will tell you this, no matter where they were sent, on their return home, they all came home changed. Be it a simple peacekeeping mission to the war that has been going on in the middle east, the men I worked with were fundamentally altered by it.
What they have seen, sharing with me a small window into their often tortured minds, often left me amazed that this person talking to me came back at all. I’ve heard of sights they wish they could remove from their memories, but can’t. Of mates, of children, of women and men dead, dying or mangled beyond recognition.
They wake, tight with nightmares. These men, have served their country and their political masters. But the cost is frightening. The marriages that foundered upon their return, because they can’t share what they have seen. The mental anguish when a loud noise takes them back into the thick of a fire fight. The cost to them, their family and their units is immeasurable.
Support the returned servicemen and women – even if you share just a brew with them, thank them for their efforts, for their sacrifice to keep us knee deep in our consumer products.
I am grateful to be a child of a World War Two veteran. I’m grateful he risked his life in the Royal Navy, to ensure that we could live in this world. And I miss him terribly.