I wrote this several months ago. Seems quite fitting to post it now in light of the passing of Robin Williams:
We are at war America. We are fighting battles each and every day. Sometimes these battles go unnoticed by the general populace. The soldiers often fight in these battles like true warriors. The squadrons of these warriors are families, friends and communities.
This war is not fought on foreign soil. These soldiers did not knowingly enlist to fight. These battles are fought on home turf and the soldiers are fighting, along with their squadrons, for their very lives.
This war does not have a title like 'Desert Storm,' 'Enduring Freedom,' or 'Iraqi Freedom.' Often times, its battles are fought in darkness and cloaked in secrecy. Rather than feeling pride in the bravery required to meet each fight, these soldiers are often clothed in shame. Rather than holding their heads high and feeling courage when facing their daily challenge, these squadrons often hang their heads low, feeling lost and inadequate. And, when a soldier is lost to the fight, there is no recognition of heroic efforts. Rather, their lives are dubbed a mere shame. A mere shame. A human being, filled with life and love, reduced to a mere shame.
It's time we rise together to collectively meet the challenges of this war. It's time we realize, and accept the fact, everyone has struggles and not everyone is equipped to handle them ... at least not on their own. It's time we attack the vicious and insidious enemy with the same level of force, might, commitment and resource we invest in our military actions.
The enemy feeds upon the vulnerability created as we, as a society, embrace fear, denial and shame rather than tackling the issues head-on with determination, might and strategy. The enemy wins every time we bury our heads, every time we don't shed a collective light and every time we look the other way insisting 'not me, not mine.' It's time to wake up and accept the challenge.
How many more lives must we lose? How many more families must suffer? How many more people must be torn apart? How many more children, parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends must be dragged through the trenches of shame, darkness, and failure without benefit of support for the battle.
Make no mistake. We are at war. The enemy employs everything from fear and judgement to unprescribed drugs and heroin. The enemy is something that lies within each human soul. Every time we judge someone who is struggling, we allow the enemy to capture another victim.
Let us collectively embrace each other. Let us pledge to help one another and to be there for one another. Let our battle cry become '"WE Can Do It!" Let our battle cry permeate every family, school, neighborhood and town. We Want YOU! We Need YOU! Together, we can win this war in the name of humanity. Together, we will prevail.