You will never understand the sacrifice we made. We give up our life so you can have yours. We give up our freedom to fight for yours.

We volunteered to protect what we believe in. This is not a pity party but facts that you need to know. We swore an oath to defend our nation at whatever cost, we signed the contract in blood.

When the physical fight is over and the contract is up. We still fight the demons that followed us out of hell. We traded a life of peace for a life of pain.

Even though the struggle can be overwhelming we would do it all over again. We mourn our brothers that are no longer here, we lift our glass to them every chance we get.

We don’t need a parade or special recognition. We need to be heard and treated like we matter. What hurts the most is getting ignored or shunned like we have a disease.

We might have nothing, no home, no family, no money. We do have a heart that is bandaged and a delicate soul. We need a friend and someone to hear our voice, listen to our story. Even though you won’t understand just listen.

You only want to listen when something bad happens, then it’s too late. 22 of us give in to our demons every single day. Reach out to us and don’t give up.

We might not accept your hand the first time because we are stubborn and don’t easily trust,  but when we see you really care we will grab you and hold you forever. We have been broken, torn and scarred. Give us patience and compassion and we will give you a piece of us.