We need more articles like this:
One evening, while on patrol, the tank rumbled over a bomb tucked under the dirt surface of the road. The ensuing explosion tossed Matt like a ragdoll within the steel cabin. Somehow, he survived in one piece.
Things began to change after that, however. Matt would forget names of men in his squad, and lose track of what he was saying. He struggled with anxiety and mental blocks and was ultimately medically retired from the Marines with a traumatic head injury and PTSD in 2016. The retirement brought a sensation of uselessness, and he mulled suicide. He was saved by a combination of therapy and Twitter, where he went to reflect and ramble on his time as a Marine and current life as a veteran. […]
Today, he’s one of a number of funny, incisive and critical servicemembers and veterans on Twitter who are using the platform to speak out against divisive politics, public officials who exploit veterans’ causes, sexism in the military and myriad other social issues. In doing so, they’re pushing back against the stereotype of the conservative military man and fighting the way that politicians and talking heads alike use veterans as a “prop” (as Matt puts it) for their own agenda. Whether it’s President Trump, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker or Fox News host Tucker Carlson, veterans continue to be used by public figures to represent a political perspective or moral value, despite the fact that veterans themselves cannot be discussed as a single bloc, Matt says.
There’s a religious fervor with which people in the United States love to proclaim their support for people who have served in the armed services–assuming that those people fit preconceived notions about what a service member looks like. We need to move beyond this limited dialogue.