On Memorial Day

I am not a combat veteran, a fact that I communicate to the many combat veterans I see through my work. However, as one vet reminded me before giving me a hug, I am a veteran and so I am a brother.

For many veterans, this is a very difficult weekend where memories they don’t like to recall crowd in. Friends killed before their eyes. Dying children. Word of another vet committing suicide.

My many hours with these heroic men and women have convinced me of the evils of war. There has got to be a better way to settle our differences yet I fear that Plato was right when he wrote “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

I deal with men and women whose minds and spirits have been battered by war. I have dealt with some who considered ending their lives or even attempted it. Without exception, all considered this step only because they were weary from the pain. Images of body parts of buddies. Smells of explosives and blood. Sounds of taps heard too many times. A loss of faith.

Did you know that the statistic for veterans who commit suicide remains at over 20 EACH DAY?? Yet wars go on, VA mental health clinics are overwhelmed, and too many cries for help go unheard. I do indeed honor our heroes who sacrificed their lives in combat. But I also honor the many men and women who ended their own lives, having grown tired from the weight of war.

So if you know a troubled vet, reach out to him or her. Listen. Many combat vets simply want to tell their stories without facing judgment, especially the Viet Nam veterans wounded not just by war but by spit and shouts of “Baby killer!” upon their returns to home. Don’t simply tell a vet “Thank you for your service.” Ask him or her “How are you doing?” with interest and attention.

I hate war and what it has done to too many beautiful people. But I am also a brother who salutes his fellow brothers and sisters and who honors the memory of other brothers and sisters whose lives ended because of war.

I share this great Trace Adkins song in their memory.

About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
This entry was posted in psychology, spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to On Memorial Day

  1. Henry Beck says:

    Thanks, Richard, for this thoughtful and thought-provoking reflection on Memorial Day and our veterans. Your words were touching and inspiring to me. I also listened to the song, my first time hearing it, and it became a prayer for all veterans for me. I posted your message on my Facebook page so my family members and friends could read it also, Richard. Many thanks and peace to you, my Friend.

  2. Billie says:

    Thank you, Rich. You’ve done more and given more than you’ll ever know… and you continue to serve. Peace to all of us, friend.

  3. Nancy says:

    Thank you Rich ❤️☮️

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Michele says:

    Such a beautiful memorial blog Rich. I love that song. Have not heard it before. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Susan Bass says:

    Thank you for taking care of the vets, including one Leroy Bass, aged 22 in his first (but not his last) war (WW II).

  6. richp45198 says:

    Reblogged this on Psyche and Spirit/Richard B. Patterson PhD and commented:

    Please this weekend reach out to combat veterans grieving the multiple losses of war. Reach out to families who have lost a veteran loved one to suicide. And pray loud and strong “War no more!”

  7. Susan says:

    One of your relatives said, “So many men”. To me it seems like so many kids, 18 years old, some 17 if their parents signed the consent.

    I know that you are not a combat vet but just listening to the recounting of the events is enough to change one forever. I have been working in “Triage” for less than one year and I now have the knowledge and the image of three small children killed in war, one because an American befriended her.

    More kids. I am certain that the killed children are with Jesus but I hurt for their parents and the soldiers.

Leave a Reply