The quiet in my house is the opposite of my mind. I can’t shut off my brain. “You hardly use your brain, it should be a simple thing to shut it off.”
Ever since my return home, I feel alone. The ghosts from war torn lands sometimes seem to be my only friends. That’s pathetic. I sound like a loser when I allow these thoughts to run through my mind.
It’s after five in the evening, and I am sitting in the recliner. I turn the lights off, except for my corner lamp. The A/C hums and Rambo: Last Blood plays on my television.
The longer I am home, the more I wonder about my return from the sand pits of Iraq. I’m home, I should be grateful to be alive and whole in body. I am. Many of my friends never returned, I sure do miss them.
My struggles with my thoughts and the chaos within seem to play throughout the latest Rambo movie. However, it barely scratches the surface of the pain that plagues so many veterans.
It is of small comfort that I am not alone in this struggle.
This pandemic has drained me. We all are shut-in. Sometimes, it feels as if I am being smothered by the memories of a life I left long ago. As if someone is holding a pillow over my mouth and nose.
Now, there is more trouble. Racist cops kill an unarmed black man. Or should I say, one racist cop killed him? Either way, a man lies dead because of the hatred in another man’s heart.
As I watch the world implode around me, I have to wonder what my friends would think if they’d survived. Would they be happy with the way things turned out? Would they wonder if their sacrifice was in vain?
I survived and I would rather have my friends back.
There are many reasons why people are protesting the murder of an innocent man. I can understand their anger, their frustration with the justice system is not wrong or invalid.
Burning down communities, destroying the life’s work of people who had nothing to do with the murder is wrong. Yes, I can separate the two. Many innocent people have been hurt by their rage. Yes, their rage is justified. No one, regardless of race, should ever be murdered because of their skin pigmentation.
We are all God’s children.
My brothers, those who never returned, would not approve of the actions of this police officer. They would not agree with the wholesale destruction by the rioters and looters. It is possible to stand against injustice without robbing, looting, and being a public nuisance.
My friends would stand in the trenches and fight injustice, at home and abroad. All I can do is fight to keep their memories alive and hope for a better tomorrow.