Sunday, May 03, 2009

Angry Anzac Day

I spent Anzac Day this year feeling angry.

The reason I was so pissed off was that I watched a TV special about the psychological problems returned servicemen from Afghanistan and Iraq are having.

TONY GILCHRIST, FORMER CAPTAIN, AUST. DEFENCE FORCE: There’s people crying, screaming, there's people calling out for help, deceased people laying there, body parts laying around... it’s the smell of the explosives that have been used, the burning wreckages around you plus the smell of burning bodies... You've got the constant thoughts of what you’ve seen and been involved in. You still wake up with the, it’s like you’ve still been there that night. You can just about taste the smoke and you can smell it in your nose still.

GAYLE GILCHRIST, TONY GILCHRIST’S WIFE: I guess the second night and he wakes up not being able to breathe and he has to, he’s gasping for breath in our bed because he can’t breathe and he has to run to the toilet and vomit and vomit and vomit until he can get his breath back and I said to him oh you know, naive me, "Are you alright, are you sick?" and he goes "I’ve got this smell in my mouth and my nose and I just can’t get rid of it."

That poor bastard. His poor wife. His poor kids. Their lives are ruined. And for what? Their supposedly grateful country apparently isn't willing to pay for someone to meet them at the airport when they get home, debrief them properly, and give them psychological support and treatment.

Imagine smelling dead bodies night after night, for years after the war is over.

My Big Dude has been through it. My little family and I have been through it. The Big Dude and his friends spent years working for better awareness and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and all the other war-related problems that veterans need help with. Now we hear of veterans left homeless while waiting for help, and of family members who commit suicide.

I'm just so disgusted that our society doesn't seem to learn that when it sends people off to war, it actually owes them something when they come back.

Disgusted and angry.


Blogger Sailor said...

We send our soldiers to do things for us, that we can barely comprehend- and yet, we don't support, appreciate nor care for them when they do. Here, at any rate, it seems as if the most common reaction is a blank stare, as if teh person is thinking "What does it have to do with *me*?".

Drives me nuts; good for your Big Dude, and you, for the work you do to try to get them some support there.

(I know, very delayed response, sorry- been behind and missed this post)

8:35 PM  

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