Question by the US Army's Twitter account draws in some 10,000 replies, which paint a harrowing picture of the toll the American wars have taken on those who fought them.
Days ahead of an annual holiday when Americans remember those who died while serving in the armed forces, the US Army's Twitter account asked people how their time in the military affected them and received an outpouring of grief.
The question drew some 10,000 replies since it was posted late last week – many of which were anonymous or included details that could not be independently confirmed, but which paint a harrowing picture of the toll America's wars have taken on those who fought them.
"OEF, OIF ptsd with chronic pain," one Twitter user wrote, using the US military's acronyms for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the abbreviation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If the Army were committed to their well-being and safety, it wouldn’t have ten thousand replies about soldiers committing suicide or becoming homeless or having PTSD or being unable to procure medical treatments or being sent into combat zones that exist for no good reason.— Johnny Johnson (@JaiDeliete) May 26, 2019
I’ve had 6 uncles and 8 cousins serve. Every single one of them returned with severe mental trauma causing irreparable damage in their lives. Every single one of them struggles to receive care from the VA.— Mir Boston (@stormyxdaniels) May 26, 2019
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The conflicts left thousands of American service members dead and many more wounded. US troops are still deployed in both countries to this day.
"My dad came back from fighting in Iraq and was abusive, constantly angry, paranoid, and following that went through a lot of therapy but his mental and physical health are still off and he was definitely changed through all he had been through," another user wrote.
My experience with the @USArmy was my dad. He was kidnapped [drafted] from his home at age 19 to wage war on innocent people in 1969, which left him (and us) grappling with PTSD until he eventually joined the astonishing number of war veterans who kill themselves every day. 2/2— KIM MOTT (@kim_i_mott) May 26, 2019
Yet you’ll keep fighting useless wars. Your thank yous and apologies mean nothing. If you want to really thank dead veterans, stop making so many.— The Boogaloo (@MrTesticleChin) May 27, 2019
You don't really expect anyone to believe that, do you? The only thing you're committed to is sending as many underprivileged people to third-world hell-holes so that they can kill as many people who "look different" as possible.— Timur Tabi (@timur_tabi) May 26, 2019
"My son served and did one tour of OEF, he made it back, re-enlisted, and shot himself in the head," said another.
"The 'Combat Cocktail': PTSD, severe depression, anxiety. Isolation. Suicide attempts. Never ending rage. It cost me my relationship with my eldest son and my grandson. It cost some of my men so much more," another Twitter user wrote.
"How did serving impact me? Ask my family."
Not all the replies were about the toll taken by combat.
"I was forced to resign my commission while serving in Kuwait during the first Gulf War because I am gay. I received an other than honorable discharge despite excellent performance reviews," one man wrote.
An other than honorable discharge is the most severe military administrative dismissal. It can follow a former soldier well into civilian life, leaving them ineligible for benefits and making it difficult to find work.
I was 17 years old with A 6 month old child. I go into the military for an education so I can take care of my daughter. I was raped by an officer. Was told that for my troubles I would receive an Honorable discharge if I didn't press charges and just go away. I took the Discharge— BlueWolff Trading (@bluewolfftrade) May 26, 2019
Try stop invading other countries - this would significantly help with that aim.— Tendo Pein (@tendo_pein_sama) May 26, 2019
The Army thanked those who replied to its official account, saying: "Your stories are real, they matter, and they may help others in similar situations."
"As we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this weekend by remembering their service, we are also mindful of the fact that we have to take care of those who came back home with scars we can't see."