This has taken a few attempts to write, but it needs to be said. It seems that there isn’t a month that goes by where I can’t open social media without finding out another guy from the Corps died. It’s never something glorious, they didn’t go out in a ball of fire crashing at high speeds, they didn’t die defending someone, they went out with a f*^king needle in their wrist or the barrel of a gun in their mouth. There’s no honor in that, no glory. That is defeat, that is the bile of accepting failure.
When did quitting become something to be glorified or honored? When did it become acceptable to bail on friends and family, not just yourself, and leave this world? That’s what it’s become, I see the same comments with the exact same bullshit phrases, “Another warrior went home today,” “He lost the battle with his demons.” WHAT THE F*^K?! Why are we glorifying this? I thought we were supposed to be unbeatable, I thought we were supposed to rely on each other to get through insurmountable odds. But it continues to happen, every time we’re like “S*^t, he was a good dude, till Valhalla brother.”
If this was anything else we’d be calling the dude a p*ssy for quitting, telling him to suck it up and keep going. Why then do we choose to honor this?! That’s part of the problem, we and society are giving the impression that it’s reasonable to call it quits. Veterans have been blanketed with heroic titles, further alienating us from society and making excuses for the piss poor choices that we make. This romanticized idea of suicide or a drug habit to deal with your problems needs to end.
While this is going to hurt a few feelings, enlisting does NOT make you a hero, it doesn’t make you a warrior, and it certainly doesn’t make you a good person. I met some of the best people during my time in, but I also met some of the shadiest characters I could barely trust to stand watch. There’s also a lot of average guys like me that just wanted to play with some big guns and blow things up. There’s nothing heroic in most reasons for enlisting. This is blatantly clear to most that enlist, yet society continues to treat the suicide or drugged lifestyle of veterans as if it’s a noble thing because of what they must have been through.
It is a personal choice how you live your life, I believe we are making it far too acceptable to live this lifestyle. We write these poetic stories of how the dead lived their lives, how they finally “lost to their demons,” like there was some glorious battle they were fighting. This isn’t acceptable, phrases of “Gone too soon” need to stop and we need to stop romanticizing suicide and overdoses.
A lot of guys have seen some messed up shit, I get that. Not everyone gets through unscathed, and I know how hard it is to ask for help, but we’re not making it any easier. Society has transformed from the days of spitting on our Vietnam veterans to placing veterans on such a pedestal that it alienates us. While I’ll take undeserved thanks over someone spitting on me, there are consequences to this. With embellished thanks and praise, coupled with the expectancy that every veteran has PTSD, it has become acceptable to be a “broken hero,” merely a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off.
I’m clearly not a doctor or a therapist, but what I am sick of seeing how acceptable it’s become to kill yourself or lose your life to drugs because it has become expected. Check yourself, check your friends. I know how hard it is to keep in touch after you get out and your friends are all over the U.S. Phone calls, texts, and even shared memes go a long way towards staying connected and keeping your head straight.
Nightstalker Pt. 1 by Michael Kurcina
I saw bleating sheep and a dying asp
Where the wind pressed its will upon solemn grass
I watched nightfall come and saw you pass
Delirious Shepard with your perfect mask
I heard a golden song from the throat of God
A gentle tone yet so very odd
I wept in silence, enraptured, awed
A gravedigger dug and a carpenter sawed
Is there anything worth dying for?
Whether in time of peace or time of war?
My salvation stolen by the Babylon whore
My trembling hands touched the derelict door
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