I was asked one day in the airport as I was taking my grandson back home to Iowa by three young men that saw the U.S. Air Force cap that I was wearing. “Sir, you were in the Air Force, what can you tell us because we are headed to Basic Training for the Air Force now.
“I thought for a moment and then, having never thought of that I said make your country proud, make your family proud and make yourself proud and comeback with no regrets.”
Later, after thinking about it I was a bit distraught because I wondered if I did them a disservice by saying those things. Here is why. When you enter the military from day one the purpose the intent is to internalize soldier and sailors to become military prepared individuals primarily. The more professional they get the more the purpose that they are being acclimated for becomes who they are.
My fear was if I was telling them to suck it up no matter what which is what many of us, during my upbringing were told to do, to be considered tough because men are not supposed cry. In hindsight, I really don’t know what I should have said to them because I had not been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), at that time myself.
I wasn’t sure then but for those that were harmed and disadvantaged the way that I was I not only have some things to tell them but a program to share with them. In an interview when I became a volunteer with the Veterans Administration (VA), the statement “when they get a felony there is no more that can be done!”, came up and the hopelessness of that statement left me wholly incapable of movement for a moment. No honorably discharged veteran should have those type constraints on their freedom, patriotism, or valor as a hero. There must be a method to shield that away from harm.
Disadvantaged Veterans are veterans that return home that have experiences in a war zone that they have tried to put behind them. The failure to do so subconsciously lingers with them as in my case and leads to lapse in judgement issues and depression. Many find themselves in the Criminal Justice system, as a result.
Further, for those that have been disadvantaged due to a war related trauma Valor Shield offers a second chance, as it shields their proven valor from farther harm. They are now trying to find their place in the civilian world with a felony record.
Civilian law does not put a veteran in the limelight of being different because they served their country bravely, that is not their duty. Their duty is to protect the public from all harm or the possibility of harm.
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