Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Toast to Innocence Lost

I was in college when Oliver Stone's Platoon was released.  A long time ago.  Long enough that it was made at a time when Charlie Sheen was an actor instead of a punch line. 
The tag line used in the movie's advertising campaign was "The first casualty of war is innocence". 
A few days ago I ran across a piece on CNN's website.  A piece about the life and death of a young American war veteran named Daniel Somers.  Sgt. Somers served two tours in Iraq - in an intelligence unit.  He came home from Iraq battered emotionally by all he had seen and all he had endured.  A brave man.  An earnest man.  Neither his strength nor his stamina was strong enough to overcome his PTSD. 
Daniel Somers committed suicide on June 10, 2013.  His suicide note, which his parents shared with local media outlets in the Phoenix, Arizona area where they live, is among the most heartbreaking missives I have read in a long time.   Among the things Sgt. Somers wrote was, "Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war."  No one should have to live that way.  Least of all one of the men or women who wears the uniform of this nation and places himself or herself in harm's way for the benefit of the rest of us.
As a nation, we need to do better by our veterans.  As an individual, I need to do better.  Significantly better.... 
....because innocence can be war's casualty even years after a soldier has last had to face enemy fire.

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