From the Soldier side: One thing I've always tried to do was to put myself in the other person's shoes...to think of what they are thinking. This method has always helped me in Police work and in the Army.
One thing I've forgotten about this is...there are others who try to do this with "us" also. By "us" I mean "us" war vets. There are lots of non-vets out there who care alot about "us" and sometimes I think we may have not realized that.
These are the other hero's. The moms and dads, wifes, husbands who support their sons and daughters...the friends and other family who sends the care packages etc.
And when we come home..the ones who do nice things like set up web sites, or other little things to help vets. These people weren't in the wars, they were not shot at, they didn't have to see friends die. But they care. They are concerned and they are good friends to have around.
This is something I didn't understand until the last few days when I started to stop feeling sorry for myself (yeah, sometimes I do that) and saw that there are lots of non-vets out there who really care about us.
They are putting that hand out...time to take it and shake it.
On anther note: I was watching CBS news last night (sorry, I like Katie Couric) and they had a story about some female soldiers who were in Iraq. These soldiers had been in some bad stuff and had to even crank off a few rounds at bad guys....but according to the story, females aren't supposed to be in combat roles.
Oh crap...what should I tell the female soldiers who were on most of the convoys I was on in Baghdad? "Sorry, ladies, you're supposed to stay at the camp and work in the kitchen."
BS. They were good soldiers...and in many cases, I'd rather roll with them than a lot of Chicken males I know.
So, when you're out there shaking the hands of vets, and you see a female soldier...shake her hand too...they've earned it and they are my sisters.
If there's anything I can do to help any vet...I'll do what I can... and I know there are lots of others who will do the same. First thing "we" have to do...is open our hearts and minds and see what's around us.
And for a "not a hero"--- "When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C. Sept. 19, 2001