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Why Veterans Hurt

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American flag and dog tags

What’s tough on those who leave the military isn’t remembering what was bad, it’s missing what was good. (Shutterstock)

When I joined the Army as a 17-year-old, I expected to face many challenges and hardships as an individual — whether that meant getting yelled at or shot at or made to jump out of airplanes. What I didn’t yet understand was how much I’d put aside my individual concerns and focus on my fellow service members — or how much they’d do the same for me. The truth is that I had never been in such a supportive social environment in my life.

That might sound odd to people who’ve never been in the military. Getting chewed out for not having shoes shined hardly seems supportive to most people. But that’s just one part of the military experience. In the Army, it mattered to someone else whether my boots fit properly. It mattered to someone else whether I had been to the dentist recently. It mattered to someone else if I wasn’t where I was supposed to be at the right time. To be sure, all of this attention paid to my performance was in the interest of team performance, but it also meant someone was always there for me.

And then you exit the service. …

To continue reading “Why Veterans Hurt,” pick up the September/October 2014 issue of The Saturday Evening Post on newsstands or …

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  • Colleen Morrow

    Mike, This is one of the most positive articles about the military that I have ever read. I spent 22 years in the Army but must confess that I never thought about some of the things you mentioned. This article ought to be required reading for every military recruiter. It really sums up so many great things about the military. A lot of problems in this country could be solved if the power of veterans were unleashed on these problems. Thanks again for a well written article.

  • Curt Moline

    I just read your article “Why Veterans Hurt” in the September-October Post magazine. Mike, this is the most profound and clear observation of what our veterans are facing today. Certainly they were trained and lived under a cohesive bureaucratic structure, they had a strong sense of social security and a core group of friends who were invested into both their safety and their success. And upon leaving this cohesive structure they feel isolated and adrift. And what is our civilian society doing? It seems they tend to ignore our veterans. They do not recognize that these veterans also lost touch with the rapid technical and communication advancements since they entered the military. So our veterans not only lost their cohesive tight knit community of fellow veterans, they are now struggling to find out what has happened in their economic society.
    There is a perfect civilian solution that can replace the missing pieces in the veteran’s life and quickly bring them up to date in the latest technical advances. How can this be shared with our veterans?