Sunday, November 8, 2015

Home "not-so-sweet" home

By: Shelby Dermer

“Now when it rains, it ain’t always pouring—but I’m learning how to live again. Yeah I’m doing alright, I’m doing alright, and I’m doing alright, for the shape I’m in.”

If you’re not familiar with country music, the quote above may be confusing and you want me to explain it to you.  

I shall oblige. 

That song is titled, “Shape I’m in” by country-music superstar Joe Nichols. The song, released in 2010, tells the story of veterans that are coming back from war and trying to grasp a lifestyle that is completely new to them because of disabilities they suffered during duty.

The music video to the song used two veterans, attempting to cope and get their lives back in order, despite one with a prosthetic leg, and the other without an eye and full walking ability.

While I encourage everyone to give the video a view, it’s just a small sample size to the dilemma brought facing soldiers returning home after overseas tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Jim Lommasson’s Exit Wounds: Soldiers’ stories—Life after Iraq and Afghanistan lays down brilliant insight to some of these veterans returning home and the struggles they face on a daily basis.
It is one thing to see a veteran and thank them for their service. However, although they seem like normal people that are in a camouflage uniform to us, we don’t really begin to ponder what they may face when they are not out in public—alone, with their thoughts, reminiscing on the ghosts of their past involvements away from American soil.

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by an emotional event—either experiencing it or witnessing it (according to This condition is commonly experienced by soldiers who are returning home after spending time overseas, triggered by a vivid image of a traumatic occurrence from the war. says that eight percent of Americans –24.4 million people—have PTSD at any given time.

That total is equal to the population of Texas.

The site also lists many interesting statistics on PTSD.

I’ve always heard about this illness, but I’ve never really been introduced to research and studies on the topic. That was until July 4TH of this year, when an advertisement encouraged people celebrating the holiday to be cautious about their fireworks because of a combat veteran (possible suffering from PTSD) living in the area.

Many were encouraged to display this yard sign in their yards during 4th of July celebrations. (Photo:

I thought to myself, “I never thought of this in my life.”

I think about those fireworks going off, many people celebrating in jubilation-- nothing out of the norm or bizarre to them. But then my mind goes back to the aforementioned Joe Nichols’ music video about the war veterans.

I see a soldier, inside, hearing the loud noises of the out-going celebration, and just being taken back to the hell they were supposed to be safe from when they ventured back home.

Exit Wounds did a great job of bringing an even bigger picture to the struggles returning veterans deal with by giving just bone chilling quotations.

When I read about the mother saying goodbye for, what she hopes not to be, the last time to her daughter while she lay asleep—it is just too painful to think about.

Or others that can’t pay off their college loans, unless they were to commit suicide (thus was the case for Sergio).

That’s sickening.

What it comes down to is how we can better treat our veterans once they return home. It was they who were brave enough to put their lives on the line for us; it’s time to return the favor.

“The war comes back home with every veteran” as the mission statement said, and I cannot agree more.

Our veterans need to know that they are home—surrounded by people that care, pray, and are grateful for the sacrifices they made to continue the country’s way-of-life.

Because for a lot of veterans that have witnessed acts that we could not imagine, the age-old expression, “home-sweet-home” does not apply. 

No comments:

Post a Comment