2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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I received a copy of The Warrior's Code of Honor as published in "Semper Fi" The Magazine of the Marine Corps League-Nov. Dec., 2010.  With Veterans Day just past, I felt it is important for everyone to know that the unknown-by-choice author wishes this to be passed on to all. 

"As a combat veteran wounded in one of America's wars, I offer to speak for those who cannot.  Were the mouths of my fallen frontline friends not stopped with dust, they would testify that life revolves around honor. 

"In war, it is understood that you give your word of honor to do your duty - that is - stand and fight instead of running away and deserting your friends.

"When you keep your word despite desperately desiring to flee the screaming hell all around, you earn honor.  Earning honor under fire changes who you are. 

"The blast furnace of battle burns away impurities encrusting your soul.  The white-hot forge of combat hammers you into a hardened, purified warrior willing to die rather than break your word to friends - your honor. 

"Combat is scary but exciting.  You never feel so alive as when being shot at without result.  You never feel so triumphant as when shooting back - with result.  You never feel love so pure as that burned into your heart by friends willing to die to keep their word to you.  and they do. 

"The biggest sadness of your life is to see friends falling.  The biggest surprise of your life is to survive the war.  Although still alive on the outside, you are dead inside - shot through the heart with nonsensical guilt for living while friends died. 

"The biggest lie of your life torments you; that you could have done womething more, different, to save them.  Their faces are the tombstones in your weekping eyes, their souls shine the true camaraderie that you search for, for the rest of your life, but never find. 

"You live in a different world now.  You always will.  Your world is about waking up night after night silently screaming, back in battle.  Your world is about your best friend bleeding to death in your arms, howling in pain for you to kill him.  Yourl world is about shooting so many enemies the gun turns red and jams, letting the enemy grab you.  Your world is about struggling hand-to-hand for one more breath of life. 

"You never speak of your world.  Those who have seen combat do not talk about it.  Those who talk about it have not seen combat. 

"You come home but a grim ghost of he who so lightheartedly went off to war.  But home no longer exists.  That world shattered like a mirror the first time you were shot at.  The hurricane winds of war have hurled you far away to a different world - the Warrior's World - where your whole life is about keeping your word or die trying. 

"But people in the civilian world have no idea that life is about keeping your word - they think life is about babies and business.  The distance between the two worlds is as far as Mars from Earth.  This is why, when you come home, you feel like an outsider - a visitor from another planet.  You are. 

"People you knew before the war try to make contact.  It is useless.  Words fall like bricks between you.  Serving with warriors who died proving their word has made prewar friends seem too untested to be trusted - thus they are now mere acquaintances.  And they stay that way because, like most battle-hardened Warriors, you prefer not to risk fully trusting anyone whose life is not devoted to keeping their word, their honor. 

"The hard truth is that doing your duty under fire makes you alone, a stranger in your own hometown.  The only time you are not alone is when you are with another combat veteran.  Only he understands that keeping your word, your honor, whilst standing face to face with death gives meaning and purpose to life.   

"Only he understands that spending a mere 24 hours in the broad, sunlit uplands of battle-proven honor is more deeply satisfying to a man than spending a whole lifetime in safe, comfortably numb civilian life with DNA compelling him to anguish endlessly over whether he is a brave man or a coward. 

"Only he understands that your terrifying - but thrilling - dance with death has made your old world of babies, backyards and ball games seem deadly dull.  Only he understands that your way of being due to combat damaged emotions is not the unusual, but the usual, and you are OK. 

"Although you walk through life alone, you are not lonely.  You have a constant companion from combat - Death.  It stands close behind, a little to the left.  Death never leaves you - it is your best friend, your most trusted advisor, your wisest teacher. 

"Death teaches you that every day above ground is a fine day.  Death teaches you to feel fortunate on good day, and bad days ...well, they do not exist.  Death teaches you that merely seeing one more sunrise is enough to fill your cup of life to the brim - pressed down and running over! 

"Death teaches you that you can postpone its touch by earning serenity.  Serenity is earned by a lot of prayer and acceptance.  Acceptance is taking one step out of denial and accepting/allowing your repressed, painful combat memories to be relived/suffered through/shared with other combat vets - and thus defused. 

"Each time you accomplish this act of courage/desperation, the pain gets less; more tormenting combat demons hiding in the darkness of your gut are thrown out into the sunlight of awareness, where they disappear in a puff of smoke; the fewer bedeviling combat demons, the more serenity earned; serenity is, regretfully, rather an indistinct quality, but it manifests as a sense of honor, a sense of calm and gratitude to your creator - which lengthens life span. 

"Down through the dusty centuries it has always been thus.  It always will be, for what is seared into a man's soul who stands face to face with death never changes. 

"Author's note:  This work attempts to describe the world as seen through the eyes of a combat veteran.  It is a world virtually unknown to the public because few veterans talk about it.  This is unfortunate since people who are trying to understand and make meaningful contact with combat veterans are kept in the dark. 
    "How do yhou extablish a rapport with a combat veteran?  It is very simple.  Demonstrate to him out in the open in front of God and everybody that you, too, have a Code of Honor.  That is, you also keep your word-no matter what.  Do it and you will forge a bond.  Do it not and you will not. 
     "I offer these poor, inadequate words - bought and taught - in the hope that they may shed some small light on why combat veterans are like they are, and how they can fix it.  It is my life's desire that this tortured work, despite its many defects, may yet still provide some tiny sliver of understanding which may blossom into tolerance - nay, acceptance - of a Warrior's perhaps unconventional way of being due to combat-damaged emotions from doing his duty under fire.
      "Signed, a Purple Heart Medal recipient who wishes to remain an unknown soldier.  Life Member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) and Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) 
      "You are respectfully requested to help spread the word about The Warrior's Code of Honor and its website containing feedback from 14 Purple Heart Medal recipients at http://www.militarycodeofhonor.com/ 
      "Why help spread the word?  Because Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experts testify that it may be helpful for combat veterans, warriors currently serving and loved ones to read it. "

Thank you to all those Veterans from Wayne County and everywhere in our nation, living and passed, who helped make our lives free and our country safe.  

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