British homeless military veterans, poem

This video from the USA says about itself:

Homeless War Veteran Arrested at Veteran’s Day Parade

31 May 2014

Homeless Iraq war veteran, David McKee, is seen here arrested at the Veteran’s Day parade. Land of the brave.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Sunday 4 January 2015

Homeless Veterans appeal: Return of the fallen triggers so many emotions for poet

Eric Ridley was moved to tell our veterans’ stories in verse

So Badly Scarred

Another night, a cardboard box
A bottle by my side
The high street that I sleep on
I once marched along with pride
My friends and family waving flags
They cheered for me so loud
Some families embraced photographs
Sad faces in the crowd

My tour complete, I was now home
A family life. Relax.
But then the cut-backs hit me
My career, my job was axed
I felt so bloody angry
The life I loved, where I stood tall
So many tours of duty
Survived the battles
Came home to fall

A civvy life came all too soon.
A different queue each day.
Fill-in forms to make ends meet
Then benefits delay.
Struggling to pay bills on time,
Continually assessed
But because I found a job, I worked
I came off less than best

Free to come home every night
A family “do our thing”
The nightmares of my battles fought
Were there, but locked within
My world was now a different place
But never a new start
I struggled, my wife stood by me
My children gave me heart

I love my wife, but could not show
So screwed-up deep inside
The man she married came back home
The man she loved had died.
My wife I didn’t share with her
My anger broke her heart
But not because she saw it
Silence! … tore our love apart

My shell became my armour
Drink became my friend
The anger grew inside of me
No more could I pretend
This different place, this different world
Was not what I had planned
My wife’s love kept me trying
Why! … I couldn’t understand

This cardboard box should never be
Is this what I fought for?
My duty for my country
A forces’ veteran still at war
My war, it is my nightmares
My wife she fought them too
Until she couldn’t take no more
Our children never knew

The answers are there somewhere!
To bring about an end
I’m not the only one in need
So many still pretend
The answers are there somewhere!
Steps to take are not just mine
Don’t let me see my end like this
Or end-up doing time

The first steps can be easy
Those same steps can be hard
For a veteran that sleeps rough each night
With a mind so badly scarred

A report for the UK homeless charity Crisis describes the system of benefit sanctions as cruel and disproportionately affecting homeless people: here.

USA: After gas shutoff, a 69-year-old Vietnam veteran died of hypothermia in his home: here.

THE PROCEDURES THE VA WON’T PAY FOR “After Army Staff Sgt. Alex Dillmann was paralyzed from the abdomen down in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid to retrofit his Chevrolet Silverado truck so he could drive it and bought him a handcycle so he could exercise. But the agency that cares for former troops won’t pay for what the onetime squad leader and his wife, Holly, ache for most: a chance to have children.” [WaPo]

VA HOSPITAL MAY HAVE INFECTED 1,800 VETS WITH HIV Due to subpar dental cleaning procedures. [CNN]


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