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The U.S. Army asked a simple question. The heartbreaking answers revealed a tragic reality.

A simple question from the U.S. Army's Twitter account resulted in a flood of responses they probably weren't expecting.

Leading up to Memorial Day, the U.S. Army shared a video on their Twitter account showing a soldier's words about what serving in the military has meant to him.

The young scout, Pfc. Nathan Spencer, says he joined to serve something greater than himself.


"The army has afforded me the opportunity to do just that. To give to others, to protect the ones I love, and to better myself as a man and a warrior."

Then they asked Twitter the question, "How has serving impacted you?"

Presumably, the U.S. Army was anticipating more positive responses like Private Spencer's. What they got was a dose of painful reality.

Story after story of trauma, PTSD, abuse, loss, and other tragic outcomes came pouring in.

Americans have a tendency to place the bravery, valor, and duty of military personnel on a pedestal and gloss over the human cost of continually churning out trained soldiers. While our patriotic hearts swell at the sight of young men and women in uniform, there are dark sides to service that we barely talk about. "Thank you for your service," we say to our military folk, not realizing that the unspoken response is often, "It's destroying me."

These responses to the army's question speak to that reality:

It's not only the individuals who serve who are impacted. Their loved ones are too.  

The responses were an important reminder that military service should not be glorified or prettied up for patriotism's sake.

These are not rare, isolated incidents. The tweets included here barely scratch the surface of the stories that were shared.

Too many soldiers who see combat come home irreparably broken, or don't come home at all. Too many families are destroyed by the trauma that people programmed to be killing machines bring back with them from the battlefield. We need to remember that the impact of armed conflict lasts far beyond surrenders and ceasefires.

But as many of these Twitter responses show, it's not just the soldiers who see combat who struggle with the impact of their service. Even those who are never deployed can also experience trauma in the ranks.

And far too many do not end up getting the emotional, psychological, or financial services they need to live their lives after the fact.

The U.S. Army acknowledged the stories people shared and offered the Veterans Crisis Line for those who need help.

Perhaps we should honor our military personnel by being real and upfront about their experiences and listening to their struggles. Perhaps we should honor them by advocating for reform in our military systems and by doing all we can to create peace.

Perhaps best way to honor soldiers is to strive to build a world that doesn't need them.  

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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