Coming Home: A Guest Blog by Matt – a Returning Soldier
“The object of war isn’t to die for your country, but to make that other poor bastard die for his.”
I remember when I decided to join the military. It wasn’t for college money or to see the world or to shoot someone. I didn’t think of any of that. When I joined, I did it to protect my country, my people, and my friends. I saw the planes flying into the buildings when I was in high school and I remember feeling in my stomach that I was going to go.
I have always had a problem trusting people in my life, and I wasn’t going to start with a bunch of young kids holding guns. When I talked to my recruiter, I told her, “I want to be the hardest, meanest, best soldier I can be. I want to be face to face with ‘evil doers’. She quickly signed me up for special operations and gave me a date to leave. The day I left, she drove me to my MEPS and told me, “Have fun now, cause when you come home, everything will be different.” I didn’t know what she meant, but I was too worried about basic and leaving my friends.
I went through basic with ease, but the next year and a half of special operations training was hell. Nothing about it is easy, and they make sure of that. I won’t even start to tell you the ways they tortured us, but it was all worth it to protect my people, friends, and country. I was deployed many times and saw my share of combat against the ‘evil doers’. I would have stayed in until I died, but after five years and a hand injury, I was released from special operations.
I remember the day I knew I didn’t fit into society anymore. I went to a party with some new friends cause the friends that I had before I was in, didn’t like me anymore. I wasn’t on their level of partying and I had deep thoughts about how to make this world better. They didn’t want to hear that when they’re drunk and high. They want to laugh. Problem was, that they were in that state of mind continually so when would they think about it? At this party, there was a man pushing around a woman violently, but everyone just watched. No way was I going to, so I called the man out. I told him if he hit her again that I’d break his hand. By this point, everyone was watching but not one person stood with me. The man tried to hit me and I broke his fucking hand just like I promised. The girl who I stood up for called the police and tried to put me in jail. The policeman let me go and told me, “that’s why you mind your own business”. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that I’m no coward and I won’t stop helping when I see it’s needed. I knew then that I wasn’t like everyone else anymore. Everything has changed Ive seen my share of horrible and I wasn’t going to let it happen around me, even if I’m the only one standing I’ll still stand.
I remember the day I figured out it was all bullshit. This took about a year after I came home, but this one hit harder then anything else. I worked as a special education paraprofessional. I only took the job cause I thought it would help my karma balance out. I was going through a lot, thinking about what I did to other humans in the name of my country, my people, my friends. A country that wouldn’t help me find my way or give me disability for my aching hand. The people who wouldn’t stand by me when they saw injustice. The friends who didn’t even want to give me a chance when I came home. I broke down. Spent a week in bed crying and broke. Wondering why I did any of it. I wanted to die. No question in my mind that I would of ended it if I had the right tools. Luckily I didn’t. I quit my job, but had to have some income so I started looking into construction. That’s when I finally put it all together. I looked at a costumers bill which was 12,000 dollars. I was paid 120 dollars for that job. 1%. That’s all I made for doing 25% of the work. Well, I brought this fact up to my boss and was quickly released.
Now I sit here unemployed. Beaten up by the way things are but not broken anymore. I had my time for that and the time is past. My quest now is a different one. I want to educate the people about what we have allowed to take control of our country and our military. Our government is just a puppet to money and greed. It used me and it will use you if it can. Big business has not only destroyed our country, it has used the people’s good intentions to do horrible things. We give up our rights daily when we go to jobs that underpay and deal with bosses who treat us horribly.
The hardest part about coming home wasn’t losing my friends or seeing a man beat up that woman. It wasn’t the thought that I killed men for no reason other then to make a rich man more wealthy. It was seeing my fellow humans not stand by my side to stop something that we all knew was wrong. It’s watching my fellow Americans go to shit jobs and get treated like shit, and not stand up for themselves. I’m not saying take a gun to work, I’m saying be mentally strong enough to say enough is enough and I won’t be apart of this war machine or apart of making the rich richer. DEMAND RESPECT!