I am an American Soldier. On the battlefield, there are two fronts that we encounter: There is the actual battlefield and then there is life after our DD214 and discharge. Where do we go when we’ve stood in our last formation, when there’s no battle buddy to lean on? This is where we go. This is what we do. I took an oath that will never expire until I do and so did you! If you are thinking about quitting, keep reading.
It Can Go Sideways
It was April 8th, 2020 and I saw a phone call coming over from a business contact who was a fellow Army veteran. At the age of 33, “John” (name protected for the sake of privacy) was a family guy with three little girls and a wife. He displayed a lot of ambition when I first met him and he was quick to mention his kids. He had wanted me to build a website for a business he was attempting to launch. John had balked at paying me twice to begin work on his website and now he was calling me on April 8th for assistance with his emails, despite his never officially hiring me. In a split moment, I decided that I wasn’t going to answer his call. You see, I had learned that John was caught up in too many things that I didn’t want to venture into. Not to mention, he always carried a gun on himself at all times and I felt he was a little dangerous, told too many lies and I didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. I was concerned, but I only thought of myself.
I Should Have Answered the Call!
I no longer wanted to do business with John, as I did not want to waste my time. With this thought process, my eye was “taken off of the ball”. I didn’t see it coming. These next few sentences are difficult. On April 30th, I received a call from another friend who was also acquainted with John. John had gone off the rails. The deception had finally caught up with John and he felt there was no way out. With his whole family in the other room, he committed the unthinkable. Do I really need to say any more than this? I felt so ashamed of my inaction to answer the call that night. How selfish was I? I could have called him out and offered to be there for him. He was in over his head. I often thought that if the phone rings, that it’s my duty to answer, as my Creator has called me into action. I had nothing but thoughts of what I should have done.
On April 17, 2020, John took his life.
I want all veterans to read this! I want you to understand this oath through and through. Why?
Because no matter the moment, we veterans have all promised this to each other as soldiers.
This isn’t good enough. We need to rise to commit the Soldier’s Creed to our families as well.
I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrad.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
Are You Thinking of Quitting?
Remember, no matter how tough it gets, you promised never to accept defeat. In or out of uniform, you are an American Soldier. You are my brother. Please, please never forget this. Would you ever allow a fellow veteran brother to fall behind? No, you wouldn’t. You were there, you saw how we picked up the ones that were falling behind. So, please know that when you take your own life, you have failed all people around you and have accepted defeat.
You have also accepted this oath, “I will never quit.” When all seems lost, get yourself found. Reach out to a friend and talk to them first! Do not quit, get help. Now is the time!
Leave No Man Behind
“I will never leave a fallen comrade.” is an oath you and our fellow American Soldiers have taken. Who was one of your close friends in the military? Reach out to them. If you cannot find them, I will talk to you now. Who am I to you? I am your fellow soldier. I may have not bunked with you, but I am your brother. Always.
I am distraught that another fellow veteran of mine has fallen. Please do not hesitate to reach out, join a veterans support group, or simply ask people close to you for help. Do not quit, please promise me this. You are my brother. I will pick you up.
If you are a veteran that is thinking about suicide, we beg you not to! We love you! We are here, join our veteran support group today, here! If you need immediate help, please call 1-800-273-8255. If that doesn’t work, please click here to call a fellow veteran now (this number will call a fellow veteran at NAMI CCNS. Please state the nature of your call. Leave a message if we do not answer.)