31 July 2008

The Awkward Homecoming

Old Blue has an excellent post up on The Sandbox about how coming back to the states from Afghanistan has been a malaise-ridden experience. He summarizes society's attitude toward war in our modern era:

The apparent inattention of the American public to the war, the seeming lack of support for the task, even with the apparent support for the individual, is something that requires some getting used to. It was my life for nearly a year and a half, counting the spin-up time and the deployment itself. To find it so trivialized in the daily life here is, for some reason, mildly disturbing.

The "mildly disturbing" feeling seems to be common amongst many in the milblog community, and is likely representative of the larger group of veterans who feel alienated from the mainstream. So much attention gets focused on WWII-era homecoming parades with smooches and victory signs, but it really isn't like that these days. You get into the airport stateside with a stack of paperwork wondering why all these travelers are going about life as normal with a war on. You realize that you have to deal with bullshit like getting the electricity turned back on at your house and figuring out what to do with the registration on your car that expired. Maybe you'll get to do it with your spouse that first night back, but that's only if you're married. Silly little things that life sends your way end up becoming frustrating endeavors. I personally don't believe that people "owe me a homecoming" or coerced kudos, but the fact that life hasn't changed at all in America is psychollogically defeating. A deployment changes the way you view reality. This includes a tolerance for the melancholy of routine, a mild sense of accomplishment, and not getting too worked up about the frivolous things in daily life that our society attaches so much importance to. Things like sitting around in traffic listening to radio commercials, working all week so you can go golfing on the weekend, and looking down awkwardly when people ask you where you have been the last year just don't happen on deployment. It's all such bs. Fortunately, blogging seems to be at an interesting point in time as a very influential cross-culture. At least I can always fill up my free time doing this shit.


MS0010 said...

Excellent post Lt Nixon.