I was more fortunate than most veterans. I have a compelling vocation that I can’t escape: writing. I found that the most effective way for me to face my excruciating memories was to write down what happened.
Besides, for reasons I’ve never understood, I have a will to survive stronger than that of anyone I’ve ever known. That instinct dictates that I must maintain my health through a regimen of exercise, diet, and rest that makes me the healthiest man my age that I know.
Hence, the prospect of someone taking his own life chills my soul. As a result, I go out of my way to be with other veterans and assure that they know they are not alone in their memories.
As I have written before in these pages, the strongest human bond I have ever experienced is that between men who fight side by side. That is why the song, “My Buddy,” brings tears to my eyes. The Bible makes it clear: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
So I reach out to other veterans, especially those over 55, to let them know that I am there for them. I share their memories. I’ll be their buddy. And although as men we’ll never use the word, they’ll know they can depend on my love.