WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AMERICAN
On July 12, 2011 President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry who is the second living, active-duty service member to receive the nation's highest military decoration for actions in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. Last year, Obama awarded a Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, also for actions in Afghanistan. Petry is being recognized for courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in the eastern Afghanistan province of Paktia in May 2008.Sgt. 1st Class Petry lost his hand in Afghanistan when he tried to toss an enemy grenade away from himself and two brother soldiers.
Would you grab an incoming grenade and try and throw it away as Sgt. 1St. Class Petry did? There are not many who would, but almost every soldier and Marine fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq would for they care about their brother soldiers and Marines and will go so far as to place their own life in harm’s way to save a brother soldier or Marine. This is the type of soldier and Marine we have in today’s army and Marine Corps and we are so fortunate they are fighting for our country and sacrificing so much of their lives and the lives of their families. The least we can do is thank them but what we need to do is care for them when they return from war as they are all hurting and suffering from PTSD and other injuries.
Our returning warriors need help and the military isn't giving enough help to them after they muster them out. Now it is up to us, my fellow Americans, to provide for and care for our returning warriors when they return to our communities as they are soon to be abandoned by the military for which they gave their all. I ask everyone to please help a veteran in any way you can. Buy the veteran a meal; drive a veteran to an appointment or the grocery store. Give the Veteran a job. Be there for the veteran and let the veteran tell you their story of combat as they have to get that out in the open and stop suppressing the horror they went through as it will only hurt them later were they not to face their demons now. Many will have panic attacks and nightmares where they wake up screaming at the top of their lungs as their mind thinks the enemy is still there and is after them.
They have to talk the enemy away from their mind and they have to do it soon after they return from combat. Many will deny they have PTSD, but anyone who has had at least one tour of duty in a combat zone will come back a changed person and most, if not all, will suffer from PTSD. We have to help them or they will become the homeless wandering our streets as many did who came back after the Vietnam War. Please be there for our military when they return from war for they have nowhere else to turn than their neighbor, so be a neighbor and offer your help to any and every veteran you see. You won't be sorry you did for you will be appreciated.
Become a volunteer and offer to help any organization that helps veterans and donate money to veteran’s organizations as they need it desperately to better serve our veterans. I thank you and so does the veteran whom you helped by your donation or your personal help. Go in peace and walk with you head held high for you are a brother or a sister to a veteran who was willing to die for your freedom and you gave your thanks by giving back.
That’s what it means to be an American.
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