Honoring Service and Creating a Lasting Family Legacy
Veterans Day isn’t just about the veterans themselves. Although the focus is on veterans, there are people behind the scenes making sacrifices, too. Families of veterans have learned to live without their loved ones for extended periods and how to care for these warriors when they return home.
For some, their veteran may return home very different due to the challenges of mending from visible and invisible wounds of war.
“I was trying to heal from what I’d been through, but my mind wasn’t responding,” said Army veteran Jeremiah Pauley. “I turned into an angry, nasty, bitter person. And worst of all, I didn’t have answers for my kids when they asked why I yelled or behaved in certain ways.”
For Jeremiah, squad leader for the 1st Armored Division, the struggles began when he lost one of his soldiers — a 19-year-old who had been in the Army less than a year — in a roadside bomb attack. Jeremiah also sustained physical wounds during the attack. Because Pfc. Jody W. Missildine was one of the men Jeremiah promised he’d protect, he felt like Jody’s death was all his fault.
“That day, I became a warrior coping with PTSD,” Jeremiah said. “Through surgery and physical therapy, I learned to adapt to my physical wounds. But it’s the mental and emotional wounds that truly hurt the worst. One year after the bombing, I was told I was no longer physically fit to serve my country. And I was devastated...”
Read the rest of Jeremiah's story in Homeland Magazine.