Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon…

The MN National Guard has started a pilot reintegration program called “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.” This has been an effort to ensure soldiers coming home from Iraq get the assistance entering society that they need.

We just had our 60 day meeting in Moorhead. They spent time talking about chemical abuse, compulsive behavior, and anger management. The 30 day involved obtaining information about veteran’s benefits, a job fair, and some family counseling classes. Throughout both events, personal counseling sessions were made available.

This has been a worthwhile, though at times boring, program. I want to leave my impressions on reintegrating soldiers. Most soldiers come home and end up leading productive lives. I’m not saying they never look back on the bad things that happened in war. I’m just saying they move on and lead productive lives. Then you have the occasional person like my dad’s friend.

My dad, a Vietnam Veteran had a friend who was also a Vietnam Veteran. I remember a few things about him. He listened to me play the violin and complemented me. Also, he would put snipers in the windows in his wife’s Christmas village. Although he was kind of scary looking, his heart was in the right place. Dad’s friend ended up drinking himself to death.

When you talk to a soldier about the reintegration events, you will hear creative excuses on how they got out of one, or how much the event sucks, or what an utter waste of time it was. But you listen to Chaplain Morris talk about the soldiers who are calling in after the event to get help for something, and realize that these soldiers are putting on the tough face at the event, but are going home and taking it to heart.

The soldier you will meet on the street isn’t crazy or deranged. The soldier in your neighborhood just experienced something outside what you and I call normal life. And they might need a little help digesting the experience. Those that need this extra help digesting the experience are not as far gone as my dad's friend was that is why we have programs like “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon,” that try to assure that no one goes off and destroys themselves.

I don’t listen to the media talk about soldiers any more because it seems everyone is waiting for a soldier to go off and engage in destructive behavior. It’s like they are cheering for someone’s demise, and that is immoral.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home