The Wrecked Human Souls of War

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryI see them from time to time in all of the places I go shopping in. They wear hats describing them as veterans of a certain war, and sometimes they wear the patches they wore as soldiers during that war. They looked older than their years, and some had real physical wounds of war. But regardless of their physical condition, they all looked like they had gone through a lot of pain. Some walked slowly as if impaired, and others had trouble raising their arms to make purchases. Sometimes the cashier had trouble following what they were saying, and sometimes their voices seemed too weak to be heard. Their service in war depended on the war they fought in. There were old men (and actually some old women too) who fought in the Vietnam War (women were there as nurses). There were some who fought in Desert Storm. The more recent ones were veterans from the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

Sometimes I try to help some of these people with their groceries when they struggle to put them into their vehicle, or to take back a cart so they would not have to go all the way back to the store to do this. No, I was never a soldier, I was never in the U.S. military, and I was never in any war that the United States had fought in. My story is different; I witnessed and survived the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989, and I am a supporter of the organization Victims of Communism. I am in a completely different category; one which almost no Americans can even begin to understand. With the exception of the Vietnam War veterans, all of the other war veterans were welcomed home with honors. But what about after that? Having been through some of my own trauma, I am sure that these veterans are dealing with wounds that are both in plain sight and others that are hidden. It pains me to see what they are going through.

But the worst part of it is how America lost the last war. After 20 painful and long years, the United States sustained a devastating defeat when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and are ruling that country as if they had always been in power. All of America’s efforts in Afghanistan were for nothing. How many of our Afghanistan War veterans have been crushed by this loss? How many are angry and bitter about all this? The only thing I can say is that this country now has so many veterans who will need a lot of help for what they have suffered in the Afghanistan War. My only hope is that America now stays out of any more wars. We do not need, nor should we have anymore boots on the ground where we might get sucked into a forever war. We need now to use what money this country has to rebuild America, and not waste it as we did in Afghanistan. Is there anyone in Washington, D.C. listening?

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