Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Christmas Wish - Help the Children

Recently, I wrote an article for an online Guns magazine where I'm a paid freelancer.  I wrote a Christmas wish list.  I thought it would be worth it to share just one of them:

Help Shield Our Children

Please spare the children from violence.  Help them not witness it.  Keep them from its awful grasp, so that they can grow up seeing the good.  Too many suffer.  Too many children have been brutalized by evil people. Help justice to be done in behalf of these innocent victims of horrific crimes.  Help mediators and the justice system speak out for those little ones whose voices are not yet developed and whose tongues have not yet been loosed.
Help the laws against sexual predators and evil people be enforced with sternness.  And, help those who must witness the abuses in order to prosecute such evils, have peace, especially the victims.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Helping soldiers and understanding PTSD

I recently was able to attend a meeting with a veteran and act as a mediator. It turns out his son's elementary school teacher heard the term PTSD from his wife during parent-teacher conference and the teacher took some drastic measures.

The teacher called the police and had them come to his home for a welfare check on the children.  The veteran told me the cop rolled his eyes after seeing the young boys and left.  There was no reason for this ignorant teacher to call the cops. There was no bruising, not injury -- nothing. The boy said he wanted to stay at school instead of going home because he was sick one day and all of a sudden, this teacher felt the veteran was a threat. The wife only innocently said the word in casual conversation. After all, care givers can have challenges, too, from living with someone who never forgets the hell of war.

This teacher even had the audacity to tell this veteran that he was not to come to the school anymore unless he told the principal. Are you kidding me?!

This male elementary school teacher had absolutely no idea what being a veteran is all about.  He has no idea what war and PTSD are. He labeled this good veteran as a killer and, in so many words, felt just because he may have PTSD that he's a threat to the school and everyone around him.

It's ignorant for anyone to think that a veteran with PTSD will one day flip out and murder everyone. It's totally offense.  If I hadn't been there to hear it myself, I wouldn't have believed it.

The teacher even invited the police school resource officer to sit in and listen.  Of course, there was absolutely nothing criminal that took place.  The only thing that happened was two veterans became upset -- myself included.  I think the teacher was scared and so he wanted a police officer there. Well, unbeknownst to the teacher (but the SRO knew it), I'm a police officer.

I just don't understand how people can be so ignorant and offensive.

...And then I think of those who served in Vietnam.

Recently I was able to go on an incredible guided hunting trip sponsored by great people who appreciate veterans. To my great delight and surprise, my guide was a Vietnam veteran. We had some things in common and after hanging out together for just a day, I feel I have a lifelong friend and confidant.  He gave me a hug at the end of the hunt. That meant the world to me. We're brothers and friends -- brothers-in-arms who understand one another.  I was completely and totally honored to be able to go on that hunting trip.

Of course, I have no idea the horrible things my friend faced, especially after returning from Vietnam. The political climate back then was horrific.  He even told me he had some friends who never spoke to him again after the war.  Well, it wasn't his fault.  He did the honorable thing.  There was a draft.  He answered the call of his nation.

Thankfully, his generation have done wonderful things for my generation.  The VA care is so much better than it was. The political climate is so much better than it was when he came home from war.  I'm reminded of Bill Dahl who wrote a chapter in my book, Warrior SOS. He said he came home in uniform and a girl he thought was cute, walked over to him and spat in his face.

I'm so grateful for the veterans who've gone before me. They've done all they can to make sure veterans would never be treated so horribly again.

Unfortunately, there are still people who will just never get it.  There are people who will never understand.  Sometimes, only veterans can help other veterans because no matter how hard others might try, there are somethings they'll never understand.  And, thank God for that.  Some things are just too horrible to have to live through.  War is one of them.

For more about PTSD and warrior help, visit my other blog:

WWII soldier remembers Christmas in 1945 in the Philippines

EnsignChristmas Under Corrugated Metal, Dec. 2014, 79.
by Erwin E. Wirkus

While I was stationed in Manila, Philippines, during World War II, I would often meet with a small group of other LDS servicemen to hold sacrament meeting. During one meeting I noticed a Filipino woman at the back of our bombed-out building peering through an opening that had once been a door. I wondered if our singing had attracted her. While our eyes were closed for the benediction, she quietly slipped away.
During one of her subsequent visits, we invited her to join us. Her name was Aniceta Fajardo, and she enthusiastically accepted our friendship. As she continued attending our meetings, she learned about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
With Christmas approaching, we decided to bless Aniceta and her familywith some Christmas presents. We gathered canned milk, meat, and vegetables; a couple of blankets; and a medical kit, including penicillin to treat Aniceta’s sick grandson.
On Christmas Eve we loaded up the gifts and went to Aniceta’s home. She lived with her daughter and grandson under sheets of corrugated metal that leaned against a brick wall—a remnant of a building that had been blown apart. We wondered how they could survive with such little protection during the tropical rains so prevalent that time of year.
One of our men pulled a branch from a mango tree and stuck it in the ground. We found bits of litter to decorate the branch.
Aniceta and her family looked on with delight and amazement. When they saw the gifts we had brought, their delight turned into tears of happiness and appreciation. They hadn’t seen or eaten such food in a long time, and they wept so much that for a time they couldn’t speak.
Because it was Christmas Eve, our thoughts turned to home and loved ones. I thought of the cablegram I had received just two days before, informing me that I had become a father. We shared our feelings, ending with our testimonies of the Savior and the restored gospel.
We assured this wonderful family of the Savior’s love for them. They found comfort in our words, and a feeling of peace warmed the night air. Then we bid our dear friends good-bye and wished them a merry Christmas.
Soon afterward I was transferred to a new area, and I never saw Aniceta or her family again. But years later I opened the Church Almanac to a section on the Philippines and read that Aniceta Pabilona Fajardo was the first Filipino to join the Church in those islands. What a wonderful blessing to think of the seeds that were planted during that Christmastime in 1945.
To learn more about the greatest Gift, click on