On Memorial Day, we remember the ultimate sacrifice by members of our armed forces to preserve the freedoms and liberties of our country.
And remembering their sacrifice carries with it a responsibility to understand its long-reaching impacts and not to candy-coat the truth in the name of patriotism.
*Content warning: mentions of violence, death, trauma, suicide and sexual assault*
The U. S. Army posted to Twitter asking veterans what impact their time in the military had on their lives.
"How has serving impacted you?"
The intention was likely good, meaning to honor those who served, but a bulk of the responses were probably not what the Army had in mind.
Many responses talked about the toll on the mental and physical health of those who serve, even when they do make it back home.
The trauma and sacrifice wasn't always related to combat.
Agent Orange has had a horrible impact on many lives too.
Many who made it home still couldn't reconcile civilian life with their time in service, and their loved ones lost them anyway.
Many people who read through the thread were horrified by what they read.
Several were thankful for the people speaking out, as the suffering experiences by those who serve is often only talked about in hushed voices in private spaces.
The Army acknowledged the torrent of negative responses to their tweet, and urged anyone currently in crisis to reach out.
Several people pointed out that a phone number is not enough, and doesn't absolve the armed forces of responsibility to care for those who served.
As well as their duty to defend and honor the service of their LGBTQ servicemembers, regardless of the religious beliefs of any members of the executive branch.
While the current system is wholly insufficient, crisis lines like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline listed in the U. S. Army's tweet are there to help anyone in crisis.
If a phone call isn't going to be helpful, the Lifeline also has an online chat option at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.