Author: Al Barrera
Title: The Ghosts We Leave Behind
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Some call them killers--hard men from the other side of the planet sent to collect the heads of their enemies and make peace with a gun.
Freedom follows, along with all of its problems. Choice, and a lack of it. A world without the easy answers that come from being in a uniform.
And the space where the two worlds collide. Where a man tries to reconcile the person he’s become with the one he was. A new kind of battlefield, where the ghosts of his past change everything he’s ever known.
It breaks my heart to think that little by little every single day there is another person who has forgotten or is forgetting about the war in Iraq. Some forget that its even still going on as we speak, or that there are soldiers - real living beings going over there to fight in it.
I think that's the thing that shocks me most is the fact that I believe a lot of people don't take into account that these are real people who go where they are told to fight those battles. Society doesn't always take into account how young they were, how they were a part of our society one day then thrown into war the next.
Some soldiers were recruited, some volunteered but you can't look at the men and women who fought and say that they asked for what they got. The realities of war and the consequences that follow after experiencing it are something that no one should have to go through.
Sadly for many that have they are left forever changed by it.
You won't always be able to strip their sleeves and see their scars because not all wounds are on the outside but on the inside. Even when their time to return home comes due their fights aren't always over. The battle continues in the echoes of the mind and in the heart, in the memories forever seared into their very souls.
I think its hard for a lot of people to understand that because there are just too many people who would rather turn their heads and pretend the war in Iraq never took place. From your neighbor next door to the people who run this country.
We are a country who have failed its soldiers, failed to do right by them, failed to properly care of those who will be forever changed by what happened to them.
They don't want pity or sympathy, they want normalcy that they'll never be able to reclaim because so much of what they went through didn't even touch the realm of what used to be considered normal.
Its interesting to see the honest inside look and the internal debate from a soldiers perspective the questions of what is justified and what isn't and the questions that always seem to cause an influx of yet more questions even years afterward that aren't so easily answered.
Worse yet is the fact that the death and dying doesn't end when our soldiers return home. Suicide which is also topic in this book has been at an all time high for veterans who have returned home from Iraq. The thousands who have died by suicide, the dozens who take their own lives every day..
The honest view of what its like to be in your early twenties, to do the things they have, see the things they have and have to come home dealing with the things they have just to fall between the emotional cracks of pride, shame, confusion, betrayal, anger, and sadness aren't always easily said and done. You aren't who you used to be, you don't fit into the world the way you used to and nothing quite feels the same anymore.
Things aren't all fine in the neighborhood. We need to do right by our soldiers who have been left behind, and society needs to remember that.
The Ghosts We Leave Behind is a punch to the gut inspiring honest look at the internal battle our soldiers face from day one to what they continue to battle today. This book should be on the best sellers list, everyone should read it. I couldn't put it down.
Until next time book lovers...
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