Our Warriors

I have seen the stories
On the TV.
In the newspapers.
I have watched
The documentaries.
Of the warriors.

The young men
That we sent
To war.
In Iraq.
And Afghanistan.

I’ve seen the stories
Of how they changed.
And they weren’t the same
When they returned
To their homes.
To their families.

Of course they changed.
How could anyone
See the things
They saw.
Live through the things
They lived through.
And be the same?

They’ve been shot at.
They’ve been hated.
They’ve seen others warriors
Around them.
Some even their friends.
Their comrades.

Die.

They’ve done their job
Every day
They were deployed.
Never knowing
If they’d be alive
To see the sun rise
Of another day.

And people say,
“You’ve changed!”

Of course they’ve changed!

I have an ASD.
I don’t fit in.
I’m not exactly like
The people around me.
And I don’t understand
Why people have
Such a hard time
Talking with me.
And just being my friend.

And I see the warriors
In the documentaries.
And I read their stories.
And I know.

They’re different people now.
They’re not like
The people they protect.
The people they fight for.
They’re different.
They’ve changed.

They know the true value
Of life.
How very fragile it is.
How easily
Someone can take it away.
How easily
An accident can happen.

They’ve lived with that
Every single day
They were deployed.

My own uniqueness tells me
That they see the world
Differently
Than they used to.
That being deployed
Exposed them to so many things.

And when they returned home,
To their families
And friends.
Those families
And friends
Expect them to be the same?

People are sometimes
Just flat stupid,
Aren’t they.

Like you,
I’ve heard the stories
Of the families
Now gone.
Of the warriors
That now live alone.

How they seek out
Each other.
Not so much because
They became friends
In the places they have been.
But because
They understand
Each other.

My soul cries tears for them.
For I can not help but know
That they are different
From the people around them.

And I know
All too well
How our society,
Our culture,
Our way of life,
Treats those
That are different.

It gets rid of them.

These are our warriors.
These are our heroes.
These are the men
And women
That did our fighting
For us.

And when we bring them home
We reward them
By avoiding them.

Just because they’re different.
And they behave
In ways that we
Don’t understand.

When will people learn
The true meaning of the word
Diversity?

When will people learn
How to accept others
As they are?
And not expect them
To become someone
That’s just like them?

The warriors
Are heroes.
I don’t pretend to understand
The nightmares
That they have
Every night of life.

I don’t pretend to know
The things they feel
In their hearts and souls.

But I wish.
Oh, how I wish.
That the people of this world
Would accept them
As they are.

They’re not broken.
They’re not violent.
They’re different.
They’ve been changed
By the things
That they’ve been through.

Grow up
Americans!
And treat them
As the heroes
That they are!

Help them to come home.
Help them to feel welcome.
Help them to feel safe.
Find a way
To show them
That we know
They’ve changed.

And that even through they have
They’re still welcome here.
That they don’t have to be
Just like
You and me.

They’re our warriors.
Don’t throw them away.
Don’t forget them.

They’re OUR warriors.

We should take care of them.

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