National Vietnam War Veterans Day
November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975.
Nineteen years, five months, four weeks, and one day.
More than three million deaths.
Today is a day dedicated to honoring the brave souls who served in the Vietnam War.
Today, I suggest we honor those souls by taking a moment to think of the true sacrifice those soldiers made–they sacrificed their well-being, their mental health, their sanity.
Soldiers endure trauma as a selfless offering. They offer themselves as a service–they have everything to lose.
The mental strength all soldiers have goes beyond any physical strength one could demonstrate. At times, these soldiers were surrounded by pain and death, the air smokey and filled with dust, gunshots sounding in every direction, endless screaming, and they kept fighting through it regardless. Adrenaline, fear, and the desire to stay alive were the only driving forces.
Memories of these experiences don’t just disappear when the soldiers come back from war. It’s not unlikely for veterans to suffer from chronic depression, PTSD, brain injuries, suicidal thoughts, etc., after returning home from war.
The importance of our mental health is often overlooked. You can’t slap some ointment and a band-aid on your brain and let it heal like you can with a physical wound. Mental wounds are much deeper and take much more time and effort to tend to. Much like a garden, it takes months of watering the dirt before the seed can finally sprout.
So, to any veteran watering your mental health garden, I salute you. Thank you for your service.