Friday, November 11, 2011


Today is Veteran’s Day! Let’s celebrate, honor, support, and pray for our soldiers today {and every day!}.
To all the Veterans who’ve served—thank you for all of your sacrifice. To the men and women serving today—I pray for your safety every day. To all the military families—from one to another, let’s stand together and support our heroes. I happen to live with an American hero—what a lucky girl am I.

As a country, we have really stepped up to the plate in terms of supporting our troops {after the disaster of Vietnam-era wake up call}. Many send care packages, others support families of deployed soldiers. We thank soldiers in uniform. And on a day like today, we remember those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice.

And now for a soapbox if you will. We are dropping the ball at really, *really* taking care of our veterans. All politics aside, it is undeniable. I am a student of Counseling Psychology, and with a newly appointed military psychology focus. {Just ask Derek who has had to repeatedly listen to my plan about moving to Chicago so I can join the Doctoral Clinical Psych, Military track program at Adler School of Professional Psychology}. 

My research into the military psychology is heartbreaking. And I know that I am just a very empathic, passionate person and being that I have chosen to focus my education and my career in this, I of course am more vested in this than most. {Again, just ask Derek who has to listen as I vent, I cry, I anguish into the wee hours of the night about the psychological distress that is evident in a war movie/tv show we watched, i.e. The Hurt Locker, Battle Los Angeles}. But even for the rest of you, this should matter to you.

This is a tiny portion of what Adler Professional School of Psychology has to say about today’s veterans:
Collectively they suffer above-average rates of psychological problems, substance abuse, suicide, and chronic homelessness. Veterans… often experience challenges with reintegration into society, preparing for additional deployment, recovering from a traumatic injury, trying to further their education, and trying to manage all of the above while attempting to seek treatment for mental health or substance abuse problems.
Did you read that!? And these are the soldiers who have been returned to us alive. These aren’t just the ones who’ve lost limbs and/or have other medical issues. These are the “normal” guys! Yet, these guys {and gals} are struggling to stay sober, to find a place to live, to stay alive in our own country. It’s not only the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice that are our heroes—our heroes include every single man and women who make their way back onto free soil and attempt to live a “normal” life that will never, ever compare to our civilian normalcy.

It turns out that the National Guard and Reserve soldiers have suicide rates that are higher than active duty. The military community in our area consist of mainly of guardsmen and reservists, so this hits home. These guys are caught between two worlds—the military world and the civilian world the rest of us live in. While the active duty guys like to poke fun at the guardsmen and reservists because of the “easy” life they are granted— only dealing with army stuff {PT, army BS, so on and so forth} once a month. And it’s true—they only have to do those things once a month, but it also means that they only experience the camaraderie and support once a month. They are not surrounded by people who “get it”, who have “been there”, or with whom they can share an unspoken bond. They have been more affected by the economic downturn. Many are unable to find employment, unable to pay for housing, which are primary benefits of enlisting full time. Many are falling through the cracks and we need to make sure we are reaching out to our civilian warriors. They may seem so much like us—going about their daily lives, working at a normal job, but you can’t take the warrior out of a veteran. It is still there, whether you can see it or not.
But guardsmen or reservist or active duty, whether serving in Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force— they all suffer. In fact, another article states:
Although only 1 percent of Americans have served in the military, former service members represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States.
Holy cow. We are losing just as many {if not more} soldier here on our turf than overseas.
One of life’s questions that I will never understand is why those who’ve made the commitment to fight for others, why must they carry such heavy burdens for their remaining existence? Shouldn’t they be free from mental warfare for volunteering to go into physical warfare!? Physical warfare for you and for me. It’s just not fair. 

Many of our veterans are fighting still today— fighting to maintain mental stability, fighting to keep their marriages together, fighting to find a purpose in life, fighting to become what they used to be before the scars of war were etched in their souls.

Please read sentence over, and over, and over again. Let is sink in to the depths of your toes. May your gratitude, thankfulness, respect amplify ten-fold. The sacrifice our soldier have, and are, making is not simply to lay their life on the line if duty calls… but to sacrifice what is often considered “normal” mental health. Marriages are failing, drug and alcohol rates are sky-rocketing, and we’ve already taken a look at the suicide rates. Our soldiers have sacrifice continues for a lifetime and we civilians need not to forget it.

What are you doing to help, support, encourage the veterans near you?

We all need to be doing something. Something bigger than what we may already be doing. Something more than a simple facebook status on this holiday, more than forwarding a sentimental email. Go out and actually *do* something. Find a group that supports our veterans; create one if you can’t find one. Shake hands of vets. Teach your kids. Send care packages. Adopt a veteran. The opportunities are endless. The important thing to remember here is to continue to support, encourage, and pray for those soldiers who’ve already made it home. They still have a battle to fight.

Consider sending a card to a veteran, courtesy of Tiny Prints. Just like them on facebook follow the directions. I’ve done it—it’s super simple and it doesn’t cost a thing. They have even teamed up with an organization to determine where to send the cards!377692_10150404309903769_30596038768_8521466_1616239804_n

We met up with great grandpa for our annual visit to the Hy-Vee breakfast. Derek had the day off, so he was able to join us! We love our vets—especially Daddy and Great-Grandpa!

Happy Veteran’s Day! Enjoy it! And make a wish—it’s 11.11.11, a once in a lifetime occurrence {for most of us anyway}. God Bless!


  1. Beautiful friend. And so incredibly, heartbreakingly, sad as well. I will definitely look into that link. You are amazing. Please make sure to send all the thanks I have to your hubby for all he does. And to you - for making more sacrifices as a wife than you should have to.

  2. Bless you, Amy, and bless Derek as well. I'm so glad you've chosen that focus for your degree.


  3. Wow! So well spoken. Thank you for posting the link- such an easy way to show support and thanks. I'm visiting from the Seeds of Faith iFellowship Hop. I'm grateful for your family's sacrifice and for your dedication to helping those who serve.


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