I have heard and read this statement many times. But when it became my son, my marine, only then did I feel the power in this simple phrase.
When our children, our spouses, our friends, go to fight battles to secure freedom, their lives, as well as ours, become so much more than we could have ever imagined. I’m not just talking about my son, about our family, I’m talking about all of our warriors and their loved ones.
My youngest child, Marine Cpl. Aaron P. Mankin, has been thrust into the media spotlight in a way that we could never have antisapated. Aaron has a natural ability to put into words the hard truths that we all need to try and understand. With his wit, and unexpected delivery, he makes us laugh as he draws us in to the reality of the wounded warriors life. He is making history.
As you listen to Aaron’s captivating personality, you find that you no longer see the scars that he proclaims to be badges of honor. All warriors who return home have their own scars that need to heal. These may be scars that are visible, but the majority of veterans have scars that can not be seen. This fact will be written in our history books.
These unseen scars carry the devastating power to destroy individuals and their families. We must become a nation that takes on the responsibility of helping these warriors who suffer from PTSD. If we do not reach out to these warriors, to these families, and help in any way possible, then we are murders through our complacency. Yes, I said we are murders. This could be our history.
If we turn our backs on the fact that death by suicide is claiming a warrior every hour of every day, then we are nothing! We have no future as a country, as a society, as a community, or as a family. We are nothing without compassion. Compassion to reach out and help our veterans. Is this the kind of history lesson you want your children to learn in school?
It is in our hands as individuals to make that contact, to listen with an understanding ear, to watch for the signs that are leading those who suffer down a dark and lonely road. We must be a light in that darkness. If not you…then who? We make our own history.