Sunday, November 6, 2016


There is a time for everything. Time to decide to follow where you are led or to walk away. Time to choose to do the right thing, no matter what price you know you will have to pay, or to do the popular thing. For the men and women deciding to join the military, it is the hardest thing to do for some but for others, it is the only thing they ever wanted to do.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
For ever soldier sent to Fort Christmas, it was their last chance to stay out of trouble until they could retire with dignity. For every soldier, it was also their chance to heal together as a blended unit of true heroes fighting the biggest battle after multiple deployments. The battle to save their own futures.

This is the work of fiction, but within the pages are a lot of truths. In 2013 the Army discharged 11,000 soldiers with bad discharges, leaving them with nothing. No help from the VA or any of the multitudes of charities for veterans, these soldiers were not on the to do list.

It happened in every branch. 

Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.
None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."
"I went down to the Battle Creek [Mich.] VA and I spoke with the receptionist. She looked at my discharge and said, 'Well, you have a bad discharge. ... Congress does not recognize you as a veteran.' And they turned me away," Highfill says.
Tom Faith was one of them. After two failed suicide attempts, his family didn't know who he was anymore and they didn't know how much he needed help to survive after combat. They sent him away. He ended up living in the woods in Florida with some other dishonored veterans.

He thought he was saved when a man came to select several of these veterans for a research project. At Fort Christmas, they would be given food, shelter, a paycheck, and even a car, as long as they participated in the drug trials.

The thing is, the shelter was underneath the gift shop, hidden from public view. There was a lot that was hidden beneath the old Fort until an Army Major was sent there to heal and put in charge of the newly taken over property from the Parks Department. The shelter, as far as anyone knew, was run by a defense contractor and had nothing to do with the soldiers living above it.

“Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” Psalm 91

Alarm clock shows  3:15 near the window where she is standing looking out.
Michaels paces the floor.
Alvarez is sleeping with his machine gun by his side.

Franklin is sitting on the side of the bed. Elbows on knees, head down in his hands.
Shultz is in bed with glow of cell phone on his face.
Bean and Murray are sleeping in the same bed. Bean has arm around Murray as his legs are moving and he is whimpering.
Daniels is walking around as if on patrol, listening to every sound.

Faith is in fetal position, shaking with tears coming out of his eyes.
“Arms wide open
I stand alone
I'm no hero and I'm not made of stone
Right or wrong
I can hardly tell
I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell
The wrong side of heaven and the righteous side,
The righteous side of hell.”
Wrong Side of Heaven 
There will be more on this along with what is actually true within the pages of this work. 

It is time to change the conversation from veterans committing suicide into one of veterans committed to helping others find something worth living for.

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