July 13, 2024

Why we miss it and love it


This archived article was written by: Sgt. Christopher Palo

Soldiers love war, but they are not warmongers. They crave battle, but hate killing. The soldier is the first person to pray for peace and the first person to stand guard when the wolf scratches at the door when the prayer isn’t answered.
Many people believe that when a young man is sent off to war, he comes back damaged. They are right, but not in the respect that you would think. After seeing all the grueling and bloody war that the average soldier has seen, the first place he turns to is his brothers in arms. He clings to them because they understand the heartache and pain that comes with the job, but in the eyes of his brothers and sisters, he finds acceptance. He finds peace. He finds a place among them that is unlike any other he will find anywhere else in the civilian world.
He loves war because he loves his brother and in no other place will he find a bond so strong as that of the one he secured “over there.”
Sabastian Junger, a seasoned war reporter, has a 15-minute video on Ted Talks about why soldiers miss war. He explains this loss of brotherhood from personal and first-hand experience.
He talks about the fact that war changes you chemically. You are at such a heightened sense of danger and adrenalin that it actually changes the chemical make up of your brain. But, that can be fixed. The longing for your brothers and that companionship that you developed while serving, cannot. You long for the trust of another that has walked the same walk you have, the non-judgmental eyes of a person who understands why you did what you did, and the unspoken bond that you don’t have to say anything about what you did. Your eyes say it all.
PTSD is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is the tragic result of being hyper vigilant for so long, but it’s more than that. It’s knowing that you will never be as awesome as you once were. It’s knowing that anyone in the civilian world, unless they have served, has no idea what you think or feel. It is the inability to make connections to people like you did when you served. It’s being forever alone with your thoughts because you can’t get close to people again because its just not the same.
Soldiers miss war because it strips everything away from them and leaves only that which is necessary to survive. In that basic representation of one’s self, you know who you are. You know who you are with as well. There’s no question that guy that’s acting like a jerk is truly a jerk ;or the guy that is nice is truly nice. It’s all out there.
Soldiers miss the honesty. They miss the bluntness of their brothers and sisters, not the batting around the bush, passive-aggressive nonsense that has to be dealt with in the civilian world.
There is a section of the population that thinks the military breeds killers and mindless drones. If you look closer, you will see that the military breeds the best relationships ever, and it is in that respect that soldiers love war.