“Part of me is still in Vietnam (or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or East Timor)!”
“WELCOME HOME!”; Those two words resound throughout the Australian war veteran community and everywhere we go. Since the Vietnam Veterans self-organised “Welcome Home Parade” in 1987 wherever Veterans gather, the words “Welcome Home” seem to have become bywords that they use to attempt to put a bridge over the vast chasm that still exists between Australia and her faithful War Veterans of that era. Because it meant so much to them, the Vietnam Veterans’ are now saying, “Welcome Home” to our younger War Veterans! Nothing about war ever changes!
Over the years many Vietnam Veterans have felt, either secretly or openly, that they have unfinished business in South-East Asia. They were not allowed to win the war, they completed their year of duty and while the war was still going on and victory was not in sight, they left! They returned to a hostile Australia, but not really home. What they thought would be home just wasn’t the same anymore. Everybody expected them to just forget about Vietnam and return to work, or get a job and get on with life as if nothing had ever happened in the time they were in Vietnam !
Many of them tried to get help for their emotional problems and ‘hidden wounds’ from the war – many were simply told to, “Pull yourself together man and get a life”! However, the Australian Government proved [it still does to this day!] to be a giant headless and heartless system moonster that is opposed to spending any money and time on anything but physical wounds.
They failed to realise that having survived, when others didn’t, would be a problem to them for years to come. Or, that the problems of self-medication with drugs [pharmaceutical and elicit] and alcohol – which was simply to try and numb the pain and drown the memories – had anything to do with their service in Vietnam .
Because they lacked warmth in their ‘coming home’ many Veterans isolated themselves from society. A large percentage still won’t even admit they were ever in the Armed Services during that time period. Many of them remember those who lost their lives in Vietnam, but what they really needed to know was that there are thousands just like them who never really came home in spirit, mind and soul – and they are our real Aussie MIA’s – Missing in Australia!
Most are still prisoners of a war that they don’t even realise is still raging on within them. They will never find their way home with the ‘weapons’ that our society has to offer them to fight with. You may be an Aussie MIA reading this now?
Well, you don’t have to be a hermit-like, trip-wire Veteran living out in the bondoo by yourself to be Missing in Australia. You don’t even have to be a homeless Vet, or one going through a DVA/VVCS approved program for stress or drug and alcohol related problems. You can be a successful, respectable businessman with a good family life and yet still be Missing in Australia. All can look good on the outside but inside there is an unexplained gnawing going on. It could be a simple thing like numbness of feelings, or not being able to get close to others…including your wife and kids.
Missing in Australia is the self-imposed act of stuffing a bunch of bad memories away without resolving them first and then denying that they affect your life anymore. Coming home from the war may have meant putting it all behind you and glossing it over it with a thin coat of veneer for looks only. It could be like putting a bag of dirty washing in a wardrobe and trying to forget that it’s there, but after 30 years or more, you really know it’s still there! It begins to give off a rotten stink forcing you not to avoid it any longer. Well, washing day has arrived and “Coming Home” in a true sense is cleaning up one of the most significant times of our lives…the Vietnam War Era [or, any other subsequent war era for that matter]. Are you ready?
A couple of thousand years ago Jesus Christ appalled so many “respectable” people because he ate with despised people, prostitutes, drunkards and sought out the social rejects of society to embrace and love them. One day He even looked up this little wimp of a bloke (yes, he was a public servant working for the Roman Government of the day!), who was a hated tax-man, and guess what? He went home with him AND CHANGED HIS LIFE!
Now it is of historical fact and record that Jesus Christ was executed by hanging on a cross, but it is also on the historical record that He came back to life three days later, and is still alive TODAY! If you need and want to finally come home from Vietnam, or any other war or traumatic event you may have experienced during peacekeeping service overseas, you first have to invite someone to come “home” with you – and that someone is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is alive today and is waiting for you to open the door of your heart. HE WILL COME HOME WITH YOU AND IF YOU LET HIM, HE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!