Dear Uncle Sam and Santa,
I’m writing this letter to both of you because in order to understand my Christmas wish, you need to understand how I got to this point. Before I can feel I have the right to ask for this special gift, I need to tell you what my family and so many others have given.
A little over ten years ago, our country was attacked one beautiful, fall morning. People were at work, children were at school, passengers were on planes. My younger two children were at school and my oldest was sleeping in his room, just three weeks away from basic training. I received a call from my brother, who was working as a cable installer. He asked if I had heard about one of the Twin Towers in New York being hit by a plane. I said no. I had been halfway watching the Regis talk show as I got ready for work when they broke in with the announcement. I watched it, sympathizing for those passengers and their families. What an awful accident.
Suddenly, at that moment, I and millions around our country and quite possibly the world, were witness to yet another plane hitting the second tower. It was not a tragic accident. We were being attacked!
Although I was crying, I got my bearings and called my younger children’s schools. My daughter was in elementary and my younger son in junior high. Both schools assured me it would be in their best interests to let them stay in school and try to proceed with a normal day. (Yet, when they got home, they both said all they did was watch the horror on television with their teachers and classmates for the rest of the day).
I then woke up my older son. I begged him to change his mind about going to basic and told him what had just happened. The newscast announced the Pentagon was hit and then just a bit later, we heard about the plane that went down in a Pennsylvania field. My son looked me in the eye and said “Mom, it’s more important than ever that I go, for you, Jeremy and the Munchkin (his nickname for his little sister). America is mine.”
Uncle Sam and Santa, my son never wavered in his determination to defend this country. He never hesitated when surrounded by bombs 24/7. None of our troops did. He didn’t go to sick call when the headaches started after a particularly bad explosion. As he said “How do I go whine about a headache when one of my buddies got killed?” He didn’t realize he had a brain injury and the headaches were a symptom.
Now, on to my Christmas request. I already got what I wanted most, my son came home alive. What I am asking for is something for him and every other combat soldier and veteran. Please, PLEASE, stop throwing them away. In return for my son coming home alive, we gave up a part of his personality. He was one of the greatest young people, so caring and generous. I found a batch of letters written to him from girls here in our community begging him to love them, to be their boyfriend, that they would dump this one or that one if he would just pick them. He wouldn’t do something like that to his friends. I heard him tell several of them that at different times. How ironic that some of those same girls talk bad about him now because of his brain injury and PTSD. Yet, they have no clue what goes on in a war zone. Their guys never joined.
So please, Uncle Sam, respect what those who made it home went through. It’s not about your bonus, it’s about his well-being. Please, Santa, put it on the hearts of our government to take care of our combat veterans when they do make it home, because they do not come home alone and they are missing some wonderful parts of their souls and minds.
I will gladly take my son the way he is today, a brain injury, epilepsy, headaches, PTSD and so much other drama because I know I still get to see him when so many others lost their loved ones completely. Still, I’m just asking that they not be ignored by the same government they defended, the same one that gives rights to protestors who disrespect them yet has to be begged for help in an emergency room by a mother who knows in her heart that something is wrong and isn’t surprised when they admit there is a physical brain injury after all.
Just a little more care and consideration for those that served and were willing to die if necessary for their country, Uncle Sam and Santa. That’s all I’m asking for this Christmas. That, and the hope that no parent gets a visit on Christmas Day, unless it’s a surprise one from their own loved one standing at the door.
A Veteran’s Mom