A Story of a Vet


It’s a sunny day in Colorado and my parents are visiting to see their grandson. I am glad to see my mom and dad but I am still getting to know my wife again.  My son is 13 months old and I have only met him a few days ago; were still strangers.  I spent a total of 12 months in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and have not adjusted to civilization yet.  As I Walk down the street, I see working street lights, cars that run, smell wondrous pastries from the bakery.  I start to think to myself, where are the real fragrances like the smell of death, the dead dog corpses, the waning aroma of raw sewage and misery?  I have smelled misery and it’s undeniable.  The slightest whiff of it transports you back to a darker place.  The smell lingers.

The mountains project from the Great Plains in force and look majestic with white sparkling tops on mammoth landscapes.  I am on leave from Ft. Carson.  My father and I decide to head to Coors Brewery for a tour of the facilities.  My dad is fond of beer, so I try to make his day a good one.  Were early for our brewery tour so we go to Starbucks and order him a coffee and I take a hot chocolate.  We take our hot drinks and begin our walk to Coors.

I see a driver in her car waiting at a red light.  The driver is a young mom and seems to be concerned with her infant in the back of the car.  She is rushed and is toiling with her newborn’s safety harness, her baby is crying.  The shriek of the child grows louder as we walk closer.

The light turns green and the women in the car is still working with her infant in the back seat.  She is not paying attention to the green light, the baby screams grow louder.  A Volkswagen bus is the second car back from the lady with the screaming child.  The van driver gets frustrated and starts beeping his horn.  The baby’s cries grow louder.  The horn blows with intensity and the man begins to scream and use violent language, the situation is hot.

The smell lingers.

There is danger and I must act.  I reach for my 9 millimeter, it’s not on my side.  My SAW is nowhere to be found.  I slept with these weapons for a year and now they are gone.  I run towards the Volkswagen bus.  The man in the van continues to beep his horn and to yell, he is a threat.  I have no weapons so I throw the hot chocolate at the van.  The van driver reacts to the assault and curses at me.  I try to drag him out of the van, I see fear in his eyes.  The mom in the car with the child takes off down the road, scared off by the commotion.  The smell of misery dissipates and the van drives away. The child is not crying.  The street lights are working and the smell of misery in the air has vanished.

Two police saw the whole thing while taking a break in Starbucks and I find myself in cuffs on the side of the road.  My dad is lost in confusion and I am sitting on a curb on a busy city street, no longer in the sand box.  One of the police officers was a Vietnam Veteran and after confirming who I was and where I have been, took pity on me and let me go with a warning.  In reality I should have been arrested.

This all went down in a matter of 4 minutes on the main drag in Golden, Colorado.  It’s when I realized that I came back a different person.

Life experiences change us.  Do we embrace the change, bottle up the change, suppress the change, or assimilate to the change.  How we react to the transformation is the difference maker.  There is no easy path back from a burdened soul but there is a way!!!  We can only find that path while moving forward one step at a time.  Keep the faith, never stop the good fight and walk, crawl and drag yourself forward out from the shadows.




About twotiretirade

Keeping the faith of fanatics who feel fired up for anything motorcycles. It’s all about the journey and the philosophy of riding on two wheels. Let’s bring alive the truly unique culture of motorcycling and never let the ride leave the fibers of our being. View all posts by twotiretirade

16 responses to “A Story of a Vet

  • TheVeeBumbleBee

    From one veteran to another – thank you for your service!

  • Mike

    Hang in there. Welcome home.

    • twotiretirade

      Writing is about the release of feelings and emotions which can make a blog a powerful tool. I figure we should just express ourselves through photos and the written word in anyway which creates balance in our lives. There are so many Vets out there that could use a healthy emotional outlet. I have never been a good writer but I always feel better after writing be it about motorcycles, life, or a short story about a Vet. That is what its all about….As always thanks for the visit!

  • nwroadrat

    My understanding of these issues is pretty slim. Thank you for trying to educate those of us on the “outside” looking in…

    • twotiretirade

      Its funny because I never thought of the education aspect of our blogs but you really are very much on point.
      I felt kind of funny putting my short story on twotiretirade because the content is not about motorcycles. Then I thought about it and in reality I have always written more about life then motorcycles but in my world the two just seem to always inter-related. So I figure there will be more short stories to follow. Lets just hope this cold and snow goes away so we can get on our bikes and ride!

  • kierk1

    Thanks. That was pretty powerful and moving. Take care. God bless.

    • twotiretirade

      Life is so crazy sometimes, were filled with these events that stick with us in some way. We should all just put them down in words to get the message out. The trick is trying to get the meaning of the message b/c we all interpret the story differently. Thanks for reading.

  • bikermissus

    Thank you for your service, and thank you for having the courage to put your story out there. There are so many men and women coming home and finding themselves in the same situation you were in, and they need to know that they are not alone. The last paragraph of your story contains words to live by for all of us, no matter what we’re going through.

    • twotiretirade

      To be honest, I really did not think anyone would read the short story all the way through. I have no data on this but I found an inverse relationship between the increased length of our stories and the amount of people who read them. So I guess I am honored that you read the whole story, Thank You.
      The last paragraph is the message behind the story and is the most important element of the post. I love motorcycles and love to dwell upon them so I was not sure if posting a story like this was the right forum for a story like this. Anyway, thank you for your message and kind words, they are appreciated..

  • Scott

    I was never a combat veteran. I gave Uncle 10 years working on B-52 avionics before and during Vietnam. SAC was always far back. But at age 76 I’ve lived enough life to understand how a threatening situation can yank you back into another era.

    • twotiretirade

      There are a ton of reasons why situations like this can occur to civilians, Vets and people in all walks of life. I had a cousin who was scarred of dogs no matter what the size of the dog or temperament. It could have been the sweetest puppy in the world and my cousin was just petrified of them. I learned latter in life it was b/c she was bit when she was four and had a phobia from that incident. Any trauma that a person goes through can come back to haunt a person latter on down the line. That is why I always say to talk about it, write about it and somehow process it so it gets out and is less likely to control who you are. Working on B-52’s must of been cool. They are monstrous!

  • Rajiv

    Fantastic post. In the US, you guys talk a lot about war veterans. Sadly, in India, we don’t

  • Anonymous

    your story always gets to me. i respect you so much and i thank you for your perspective.

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