The Mission Continues
The Mission Continues is a non-profit agency created by a veteran Navy Seal just for other veterans. A place where a soldier returning from their deployment can join their local platoon, and find a new place for themselves with their new unit. This unit has a goal, a job to do, a new mission to complete. After years of enlistment, discipline, and lists of missions completed, a soldier often finds they have a space within themselves to fill. Maybe another veteran to talk to and work out a few questions while they are re-adjusting to their return to civilian life. The Mission Continues can make that transition an easier road.
The sincere handshakes and hugs from caring and loving family and friends are awaiting them hopefully, as our men and women returning from a zone to wind down and adjust to the environment they left. Veterans I know would often talk about the friendships and relationships they made in the service. Sometimes they would mention specific names and places when in a moment everything changed. Names and places they will never forget.
As an unnamed Veteran once said and was quoted, “War is months of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror”.
Stories of time down and the gags they pull on each other to relieve the constant pressure, now told with a generous amount of laughter. And the stories of loss, when ” all hell broke loose” and as a vet once said to me, ” I turned and my buddy was there one second, when I turned back he had already been hit, and he was gone”. Too fast to lose a buddy..a friend. The human psyche takes time to catch up.
The Mission Continues offers that time to adjusting veterans with a new platoon of fellow veterans, often having the same challenges many vets experience upon their return to the lives they left. Some don’t have as much of a life to return to as others. The support one would feel a vet has earned is just not present when they return.
From the stories I was honored to hear, from the old vets of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, to our young vets of Iraq and Afghanistan, one element stays the same throughout all of their experiences. That element was the connection to his or her fellow soldiers around them. The connection and trust they felt with their family in the field.
A friend who served as a Marine in Vietnam once said to me “when the shooting started, it was just me and my guys against him and his guys. No politics, no generals or medals. Just me and my buddies fighting to stay alive.”
Their platoon or squad was special and the mission that group of individuals was focused on was everything in their moment. Time and space filled suddenly with noise, energy, and often chaos where injury or death becomes all too real and oh so close. “Survivors guilt” is not uncommon. Why him and not me. Why did I make it home. Sometimes the questions are constant and the answers just out of reach for a time, or longer.
If you are a returning Veteran, than first may I say Thank you for your Service. Freedom is not free. You have performed a job many could not. We owe you the absolute best that we can offer including our heartfelt gratitude, support and understanding of what can get you back in the civilian saddle as quickly or patiently as possible. Thanks again soldier.
And understand that most of us Americans here back home are at your service. Reach out and express your needs. Do not hold it in when you should be letting it out.
The Mission Continues will be there for you when you feel you are ready to connect. Men and women, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, soldiers and sailors from all walks of life are waiting for you to report. All soldiers once … and young. They need you now.. and they have a a new job, and a new mission just for you at The Mission Continues.
My sincere thanks to our Veterans and their families. Thank you for your service and sacrifice today, and every day. “Freedom is not free”.