Band of Brothers….NOT!


In my line of work I often have the privilege of hearing the stories of other Veterans. Most of them are terrifying – horrible stories of war and survival. They say that the only glory in war is surviving…I understand that even though I have never served in combat against an enemy of the United States. Still, there are stories that break my heart and make me wonder what it is that I have to be bothered by in my own service experience.

William Shakespeare created the “band of brothers” world in his play; Henry V…this quote comes from Act IV.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother;

From the very first day in uniform we are taught that we are family. Maybe that is part of what hurts so much. I wasn’t assaulted or attacked by an “enemy.” The “enemy” is supposed to assault, attack, kill and rape. I was attacked by a “father.” By its very nature the person in leadership assumes the role of the surrogate parent. Those who are our peers become our “brothers and sisters.” Rape in the context of the military is incest and that is how it leaves the survivors. We happy few are no longer “safe” in the family…our “enemy” is in our barracks, in our tent, in our squad. When the enemy is “inside the wire” there is no safe place to call home. There was a time in my military career when I felt I had brothers and sisters. The days before being assaulted. The days when we left our barracks doors wide open on a Friday night and wandered from room to room hanging out watching movies and eating pizza. The days when you sat on the bunk with 10 other people and did not fear for your safety. You were home…the work was done…all was safe and there was peace.

Now that family is shattered and there is no place to call home.

Blessings,

Joan

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