I remember the first time I heard Metallica’s heavy metal anthem, “One.” It was in the late 80’s when I was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. At that time, most of my Army buddies listened to this genre of music and this song was one of our favorites. I’m not sure any of us really realized it was an anti-war song, we just loved the hardcore guitar riffs and, in some strange way, felt a kinship with the combat-wounded fictional character portrayed in the song’s video, which was released in 1989. In some circles, it quickly became a classic song and video.
Now almost thirty years later, the magnitude of the song’s lyrics hits me in another way. It’s not the genre of the music or its anti-war sentiments, it’s the feelings of angst and hopelessness that some suffer after being traumatized. Follow me on this one. For the past few years, I’ve been looking for ways to help others who are dealing with personal issues created by trauma. Enter our GreenZone Hero project, Straight Outta Combat Radio, a podcast show presented by the Heroes Media Group. My Gold Star Father Co-Host and I created the show to interview combat veterans. Of course, we have some common ground. Kris lost his son in Iraq in 2007. I’ve been dealing with my own issues stemming from a childhood sexual assault from over 40 years ago and from a head injury sustained in an automobile accident in 2012. Both of us have been challenged. Our podcast is very authentic and we’re calling it audio-medicine. It’s about people, special people who’ve been assimilating trauma brought on by the experiences of combat. By focusing on the veterans and giving them an opportunity to tell their stories, we’ve become part of the healing and education process, a huge part of the solution.
Releasing podcast interviews of combat veterans will educate others and create an atmosphere of understanding. These are key elements in the healing process. As a matter-of-fact, listening to and conversing with so many inspiring individuals has helped my own healing process. I can’t say enough about the importance of keeping these issues in the forefront of our consciousness. By listening to the stories of combat veterans, we can help breakdown the stereotypes surrounding them, AND, perhaps, change how people react to them. More importantly, we give the veterans an opportunity to discuss what they experienced in combat. Experts on trauma will testify how important it is for people to just talk about it. We can all become part of the solution, make the world a better place. There are other veteran-focused radio shows on the air. I commend the creators of those shows and encourage anyone interested in helping or wanting to gain a better understanding of combat veterans to listen to them.
In closing, the lyrics and video of Metallica’s "One" is as close as it gets to portraying the effects of serious trauma. No one can deny the horrors and political complexities of war. They’re not my points. What’s important is how we help those affected by it. It’s equally important to remember that you don’t have to lose your limbs or your eyesight to be adversely affected by trauma. Often, it’s quite the contrary, the damage can be invisible, but not forgettable. At the very least, watch Metallica's video and listen to their important song, it’s powerful.
Metallica Video, Watch and Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8bTdBs-cw
Veteran-Focused Podcasts worth listening to:
Mentors for Military Podcast (http://mentorsformilitary.com/)
The New American Veteran (http://www.heroesmediagroup.com/tnav/)
Camouflaged Sisters (http://camouflagedsisters.com/)
Straight Outta Combat (http://www.heroesmediagroup.com/straight-outta-combat-radio/)