12 Nov Finding the way home: How our veterans build resiliency through gratitude and purpose
A soldier does not become a veteran until he or she is allowed to come “home.” How does one determine what it means to be home? Is it a place? A concept? A feeling? A right? Home on some level is an ideal, but it is also found internally. It’s the place where we find our center, our true north, where we are allowed to sit in our authenticity, feel secure and know we belong.
The words, “I’m coming home,” pass civilians’ lips every day with little relevance. “I’m coming home for dinner” or, “The kids are coming home for Christmas.” “I forgot my mask. I’m coming home to get it.” For our veterans, such a declaration at one point, held a much greater significance.
Some veterans came home celebrated as war heroes of what Tom Brokaw lauded as The Greatest Generation. Others came home only to be spit on and ostracized by antiwar protests and conscientious objectors. Today’s veterans describe their return home as somewhat inconsequential to the American public.
Upon reporting to basic training in 1965, David Taverna who is a local Vietnam veteran was told blunt as the butt of his new rifle, that he was never coming home. “Three times a day for sixteen weeks, they drilled it into us,” he says. He was told to tell his parents the type of goodbye that would not await the next hello.