Friday, April 08, 2016

They always keep their dog tags

They raised their hand and swore an oath to defend the country against all enemies both domestic and abroad.  They did their duty.  They stood the line.  They risked their lives. They took other lives in defense of the nation.  They protected each other.  They fulfilled their commitment.  They received their honors as they took off their uniform and rejoined civilian life only to find that comradery that helped them through the challenges and stress of military service was also boxed away.

While in service no brother or sister in arms was left behind. However, many found themselves without a support system to help them through the transition from military personnel to veteran.   It takes more than three hots and cot to move past the experiences that permanent altered lives from the inside out.  The person, who raised their hand and took the oath, no longer exists.  Whether combat or non-com, peace time or conflict, putting on the uniform meant setting aside their individuality for the good of the whole.   Basic did more than train them for battle; it broke down the barriers between them and rebuilt them as a unit, which is was capable of working as single entity.  Egos were set aside.  Their competition in training strengthened and enhanced the whole.  Their lives depended on their ability to trust and rely on each other.

Civilians can’t or won’t understand.  Serving is more than a job, it is who they became as a person.  They no longer saw themselves as “I” or “me”, but as “us” and “we”.    While civilians compete for themselves, military personnel fight for the group.     That mindset doesn’t just end by taking off the uniform. 

Horses and Heroes is a Reality TV series, which combines the highly effective Peer Support Therapy with Equine Therapy. Unlike most in the genre, it will focus on healing and positive growth rather than endorsing bad behavior.  Each season will bring together the veterans from WWII to the current conflicts. They will be sharing their challenges and supporting each other as they find new solutions.   They know the talk, because they have walked the walk.  They see the dodges and will be able to call each other on them.  Sparks may fly. Tempers may flare, especially when they force each other to face the ghosts.  When it airs, it will reach into the homes of the veterans, who need to hear that they are not alone and give them the information as well as the permission they need to also heal.  They will help each other find their way back to the world.  Veterans can’t go back and make a brand new start; but they can start from now and make a brand new end.

1 comment:

AncientAce said...

Dear Ms. Chaze,
Your statement (blog? appeared this Sunday afternoon on my screen & I am uncertain
why it appeared. However,at this time it is particularly relevant to me.I''ll explaim.
My youngest daughter,Melanie (she turns 57 in July)is now deeply involved in restoring an equine facility in the hills of Oakland, California. Incidentally,she is also a practicing equine therapist. The facility she has contracted to restore,a 26 year old barn,outbuildings,arena,etc.,closed for the past 12 years, belongs to the city of Oakland with whom she has her contract. One of the programs she plans to implement among a number of outreach efforts is one for recovering veterans.The work has been progressing slowly but she is determined to make it work.My belief is that you two have much in common. I know she constantly seeks all the help she can find.
As a dad,I want to assist any way possible but my age (92),physical & financial circumstances preclude much of what I'd like to do. I'd appreciate hearing from you & hope you'll respond. My gmail address is: Thank you for your time & attention. Sincerely, Ace (nickname is "Ace").