"...Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" --Alma 37:6

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Protect Us Now Our Fight is Ended

As he lay in bed that Fourth of July, the sounds of fireworks resulted in involuntary jumps and moments of real fear. In his mind's eye he saw sand, dirt, heavy boots, HUM-V's, and camouflage. The sound of a comrade's last breath was deafening. These images haunted him daily, but such holidays made the pain more acute and torturous. 

He tried to focus on the next day's plans, his trip to the unemployment office, then to the welfare office, but that depressed his mood even further. His visions of being hailed as a hero, given a hero's welcome, and government support flew out the window (if he had window).  The winter wind howled through the alleyway and into his makeshift lean-to. He pulled his worn and dingy coat tighter around his body. 

When he had returned from the war, he received smiles and a pat on the back. After only a week back, the nightmares started. At first they were simply traumatic dreams, but then he began to see them in daylight too. He knew he needed help, but the military gave no aid, the care at the local VA hospital was neglectful to say the least, and with no luck finding employment he had no way of paying the medical costs. 

Soon, he could no longer afford the apartment, the car, or anything else required for living. He soon found comradery within the local homeless community. It turned out the community was made of veterans just like him. The local homeless shelters did what they could, but they had only so much room. The daily hot meals were something to be grateful for however, especially during the cold winter months. 

As the sounds of the fireworks finally began to die down, to the peace of silence, he could finally breath without anxiety. He could hear his comrades checking in on each other and giving comfort. They all had nightmares. It felt good to know he wasn't the only one enduring emotional distress. 

Before drifting off to sleep, he said a silent prayer,

"Father, we are thy sons,
who fought for freedoms won

Please take us in thy warm embrace,
so that we can rest someplace.

Our country's freedom we so defended,
Protect us now our fight is ended.