My past employer, The National Veterans Foundation, sent me this link this morning. It’s an interview of one of my personal heroes and mentors, Shad Meshad an Army Vietnam Veteran who now dedicates his life to helping Veterans and their families cope with the struggles of coming home after war. As a young man barely 19 years of age, I was sent to Iraq to bring freedom to people I knew little about & told I would probably die for my country. I was scared out of my mind, and was lucky to come back home. As a kid, you are tried to react to the stress of combat, and you encounter many things that the normal person only reads about or sees on TV. That is something that you never forget. To this day I still have nightmares about dead bodies on the side of the road, in crumbling buildings or bombed cars. The sweet stench of death and burning flesh is something you never forget.
However, the home I came back to didn’t feel like home. This was back in 2004, when I was kicked out of the Army for loving a man, and they gave me the boot immediately after my deployment. I didn’t get a chance to completely debrief, as they say. My life was on the line for an entire year, I lost a good friend, I protected the men and women who where at my side. And when I loved a man, I was told thank you for your service, but we don’t want you anymore. When I came home it took me years to not freak out from the sound of a door close. I still have problems with crowds, people I don’t know and fireworks. I know I’m a mess, but I’m a work in progress. I’m also working on fixing myself so I can once again love a man, and accept his love in return.
Everyday I bare the scars of war, and the scars of being outcast for loving a man. So, I thank Shad for giving us a little insight as to what our Veterans really go thru. I know first hand what its like, and if it wasn’t for people like Shad, I don’t know if I would be alive today.
War Comes Home: Shad Meshad:
Apolonio E Muñoz III | C: 818.281.6060 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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