Reach out to our veterans

Reach out to our veterans

This is a discussion on Reach out to our veterans within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; American Soldiers And Civilian Protest : The Hidden Mental Scarring The homo-sapiens species has been warring against itself since before the first historical recordings were ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array jeep45238's Avatar
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    Reach out to our veterans

    American Soldiers And Civilian Protest : The Hidden Mental Scarring

    The homo-sapiens species has been warring against itself since before the first historical recordings were written. The reasons are always changing, from the ideologies of religion, ethical causes of a society, and even the emotional rational of an individual. The tools are also changing in the same respect. We use anything from our own appendages to smash into each other, to objects in our environment, and we even create specialized machinery to do the gruesome job more efficiently. There will always be those in our modern world who wish and work towards the impossible utopia of world peace, and the protest song is one of their strongest tools. However, they often forget about the people who suffer the most from war, the soldiers covered in mud and blood.

    Humans are social creatures. Right next to our opposable thumbs and complex communication systems, this trait is one of the key features that define us as people instead of animals. It is the simple desire of people to have others out of harm’s way that spur’s the protest songs, and every other protest regarding war in global history, regardless the country or the language. As I stated earlier, the protest song is one of the strongest tools that can be used, second only to videos. Music is universally understood by everybody. The overall tone of the music, the tempo and the beat, set the basis for an effective song, while the lyrics emphasize the song’s meaning. We have probably all heard a song at some point that has made us cry upon listening to the lyrics, myself included. Those who haven’t eventually will. Illustrating the tragedies that occur to others with words dig deep into our emotions and unearths social roots. War is one of the worst tragedies, and has been seen worldwide in all countries in during some time in our planet’s history.

    Many soldiers come back home suffering from what is known as post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. PTSD occurs in people who suffer an extremely traumatic experience, especially those who have served in battle. Many people will eventually have this disorder at one point or another during their life, in fact 60% of men and 50% of women will eventually suffer from it at some point in their lives (What is PTSD?). The symptoms are crippling, emotional withdraw, constant nervousness, social avoidance, aggression, suicide, and alcohol or drug dependence are quite common. Suicide, unemployment, divorce/separation rates, and the even death rates of those who suffer from PTSD without seeking medicinal help are all greatly higher than those who have not done so. Many sufferers are simply are never the same, and some suffer from chronic flashbacks to their time of terror. Not many can explain this better than the rock band ‘The Rolling Stones’.

    The ‘Stones recorded a song in 1966 called “Paint it Black”, which was extremely popular during the Vietnam era. The overall temper and lyrics of the song are dramatically different than that of other protest songs of the era. The song has a dark angry overtone, highlighted with a steady double drumbeat and a sitar while lead singer Mick Jagger works his magic through the microphone. Although the song is commonly said to be about a depressed lover morning over the death of their loved one, it is better suited as a powerful illustration of the mental anguish a soldier goes though. I find it pretty far fetched that the first situation is correct, as it was recorded in 1966, during the peak escalation of the Americanization of the Vietnam War; which was also the period of the strongest protests. The 1960’s and 1970’s were the peak of the anti-war movement in America, as well as the peak of protest songs during all of America’s History. Historically speaking, the hits of the era are either from so-called ‘one hit wonders’ singing about nothing, or are messages against the war effort in Asia.

    The lyrics Mick Jagger’s band put into the public minds are extremely powerful, and have been used in multiple movies and television shows (mostly dealing with the Vietnam War). “I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black, with flowers and my love both never to come back” has multiple meanings. The strongest one is in regards to a funeral, where the traditional color of the funeral owned vehicles, as well as a horse-drawn caisson. While unfortunate, this was a common sight during that war period. American involvement went from 3,500 to over 200,000 in under a year. Our military has always trained to be on the offensive, while during this war they were forced to be defensive by politics and legislation. They were also in a landscape they have never before planned for with, and were forced to use tactics and equipment that were not even close to effective. Many young men came home in caskets, and those that survived were never the same both mentally and physically. The lines show the tense mental anguish that those survivors often faced. A constant battle occurred against part of the Vietnamese population, without the ability to discern from innocent and the enemy until in battle. The scent of death and burning flesh, combined with the smell of gun powder and burning napalm with the soundtrack of artillery and guns firing and with others screaming in pain for 4 years is something that very few people would be able to endure. A common trick used by those under stress is to de-sensitize themselves and to joke about the incidents of the day, which is still used today in law enforcement and other stressful jobs. While effective for the situation they are currently in, it is not a habit that is easily broken and often follows them home into their civilian lives.

    The Rolling Stones were also able to catch the environment soldiers faced on the soil of their own country. “I see people turn their heads and quickly look away, like a new born baby it just happens every day” describes the way many soldiers were treated with disgust when they got home. Many people taunted soldiers returning home from Vietnam, and even those who never went to war such as the National Guard; an entire generation of hippie turned their backs upon them and treated them despicably. To somebody just coming back from war, many of them forced to go because of the draft, this simply compounded the emotional baggage that they took back with them. This is quite ironic, as the hippies was the group commonly known for wishing peace and forgiveness, yet they acted quite the opposite when they felt like doing it.

    The British rock group was also able to capture how having to go through such an event will permanently stay with somebody. With lyrics talking about how their heart is black, fading away and not facing the facts, the band was able to show the emotional withdraw from society that many young men went through. This verse focuses on a deep retreat into a sheltered mental cave was often done in an attempt to protect what little sanity the returning personnel had left. The song hits yet another emotional heartstring when Jagger proclaims “I could not foresee this thing happening to you.” The simple observation about a person by another who has gone through the fires of hell before them just shows how dehumanizing war is; even to those who many would consider to be strong enough to come home the same as when they left.

    Depression and withdraw are two major symptoms of PTSD, both of which are treatable with counseling and in some cases, medication. However, it is a treatable condition that does not have to affect this country’s heroes, as long as there is somebody willing to help them. Warfare is a terrible thing that every person fears. Every veteran has gone through physical and emotional torture and anguish that very few of us can even begin to comprehend. Although the protest songs are powerful, and many have the best intentions in mind, they often miss the largest victims of the war. Those victims are the soldiers fighting for the flag they both have in common, as well as the military families at home. Many have never been thanked for what they endured, regardless of the war they served in. These same people walk around in our society not wishing to burden us with seeking help to overcome the hell they have endured. They do not deserve that.

    “It’s hard facing up when your whole world is black” – The Rolling Stones


    Bibliography

    "What is PTSD?." National Center for PTSD. 22 May 2007. United States Department of Veteran Affairs. 24 May 2007 <http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/fact_shts/fs_what_is_ptsd.html>.
    ~Mike F.
    http://www.ConcealedCampus.com
    http://www.a-human-right.com/
    "Quemadmoeum gladuis neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array mark555's Avatar
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    Not sure as to the point of your post, Paint it Black is one of my all time favorite songs, no mater the over/under tones of the meaning.

    You will find that most vets aren’t interested in talking about their experiences with anyone that has not been there done that. Without a frame of reference what good does it do?

    I will admit I did not read all of the post in detail I skimmed it, I went back and tried to get through it a couple of times. I think you’re trying to look to deep into the Stones.
    "Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."
    - William Munny (Clint Eastwood in the Unfrogivin)

    “The graveyards are full of indispensable men.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

    “My Idea of a fair fight is beating baby seals with a club”

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    Ex Member Array HOLYROLLER's Avatar
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    Ive never bought into the whole "troops are victims" ideology. We have a volunteer military and there are things in civilian life that are every bit as tragic as what we may go through. No disrespect intended, just my opinion after 13 years of service.

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    Senior Member Array mark555's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOLYROLLER View Post
    Ive never bought into the whole "troops are victims" ideology. We have a volunteer military and there are things in civilian life that are every bit as tragic as what we may go through. No disrespect intended, just my opinion after 13 years of service.
    I tend to agree, No more or not much more then any LEO, Fire Fighter or EMT. All depends on what you are doing.
    "Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."
    - William Munny (Clint Eastwood in the Unfrogivin)

    “The graveyards are full of indispensable men.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

    “My Idea of a fair fight is beating baby seals with a club”

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    Senior Member Array jeep45238's Avatar
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    Trying to draw a parallel to reality and a song everybody understands.

    While I do agree with the volunteer thing, and that's why I don't blame the government for the death of some friends, I also still feel that to be put through that kind of hell makes you a victim. Whether or not you wanted to go doesn't matter to me.
    ~Mike F.
    http://www.ConcealedCampus.com
    http://www.a-human-right.com/
    "Quemadmoeum gladuis neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."

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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOLYROLLER View Post
    Ive never bought into the whole "troops are victims" ideology. We have a volunteer military and there are things in civilian life that are every bit as tragic as what we may go through. No disrespect intended, just my opinion after 13 years of service.
    While I agree to a point this has not always been the case. I think of the costs paid in my own family for freedom. My father was a green farmboy who had moved away from home for a few years when WWII hit. He joined up and survived 5 amphib assaults in the south pacific. Three years of combat with only a few in theatre breaks and no leave. His injuries eventually left him legally blind in his later years. Towards the end of his life he cracked the door, just a little, on what he had seen and experienced there. Don't think many civilians can ever come close to that, not even 9/11 or Andrew (which I survived among others) or Katrina. Since there was no PTSD in those days people just wrote him off as a horses patoot. Truth is, his experiences left him pretty messed up for life and messed up his family for life. I got over it, some of my siblings never have.

    Freedom is never free and comes at one heck of a price. Wish it was a lesson we could all learn and get past in this world but I doubt we ever will.
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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