Wonder Women vs the Taliban

by Melvin Brinkley


Three Buddies

by Jack Tompkins


What It Means to Be a Veteran: Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

by michael mcbride


Under the Flag

by Paul Gonzales


An Encounter at the VA Hospital

by John Swainston


Cuban Missile Crisis

by Gary Jenneke


Just Plain Lost

By Richard Wangard, Navy, Air Force

Writing Type: Prose

This piece is a hard one to write! There is a place I belong. It is in 64,000 acres of the Wisconsin wilderness. I know it well. Nobody would find me except some top Navy Seals. I have skills and know how to survive. I need to escape, run, hide, go completely off the grid. I am starting to become unglued, nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof, wondering what is going on, too much stress that nobody can relate to or see. I cover it well until the explosion inside of me takes over and I enter another world I refuse to ever visit again.

So I will do the only thing I know how. I will resort to the life I lived at 18, 19, and 20. When you think about it, all you need is food, water, and shelter--all of which the place I am going provides. I so just want to stay there, forever! Family members shut me out, I have a wife of 43 years who still doesn't know me, a son I am close to but I can't tell you what makes him tick, and living for pets is a poor excuse for existence. Now, my grandson Logan is a whole different story. He keeps me going and he is all of 12. Is that all I can relate to anymore, a 12 year old? There is great stress in my family right now, and it is eating me up. I as the patriarch of the family, kept in the dark with nobody wanting to tell me anything. Not knowing what is going on is worse than being involved in the process of coming up with solutions to solve problems. But I don't count anymore--unwanted, not listened to, ignored. There is a great line in a movie I once saw, though I can't remember it verbatim. You can do anything you want to me, but just don't bore me to death! I imagine the situation will resolve itself one way or another, but I am not part of the process. Lost is how I feel: defeated, not worth too much to those that are supposed to care for me and be close to me. Perhaps they are just trying to protect me and keep my PTSD from triggering, but they triggered it by keeping me out of the loop and unknowing of so many important things I needed to know. None of them understand after all these years or they all understand too well. The feeling of worthlessness, being old, losing memory, and physical malfunctions take a toll but my youthful spirit lives on.

It is time for me to visit nature's beauty; to be alone for a long time and get back to basics. Running away--I suppose. Maybe I can find something out there or as our Native American friends said, Today is a good day to die. Ageing, pain, suffering, and becoming a burden is no way to live. The promise of a new or brighter day fades away but the truth is it could be. Logan keeps me going. What is more special than the unconditional love of a dog? A new kitten tearing up the house. Little pleasures must be seen when it all goes to hell!

But the feelings remain and remind you that you have become a non-producing human being not worthy of being told the truth. It is more than anyone should have to bear. I hear the wilderness crying out for me and I must answer its call. If for no other reason to keep my sanity and go back to where I came from. Vietnam. Only in my own country. These things I understand: survival, being raw and all alone! I will return, but things will never ever be the same, and the only thing I would really like at this point is to be with my brothers who as I know from group are just as lost as myself. The golden years, huh? They suck!

Accidental Astronauts

by Lynn Norton



by Tanya Whitney


Ode to a Desert Warrior

by kimberly green


The Forgotten Terps

by Shon Pernice


I Dreamed

by William Snead


From Hopelessness to Dignity

by Nila Bartley