Reuniting with brothers and sisters who have carried that burden is an important step to healing. There have been scores of documentaries and studies done on warriors returning from combat and then leaving the military service. These studies have found that these men and women miss the camaraderie and the sense of community once shared.All bravado aside, we can all admit that war is horrible. Sometimes to combat evil, it is necessary, but that's beside the point. The point is that many servicemembers lose a lifetime worth of friends, brothers, sisters in few short years. It's not a small burden to bear. Luckily while still on active duty they at least have the community to fall back on. Not to say that the burden isn't there, but the knowledge that those around you have endured the same and can relate is its own form of comfort. Now take that individual who had the support of the community and, remove them from the community. That source of comfort from shared experience is now absent and often the service member is left to navigate whatever emotions and scarring alone.
Veteran reunions are a helpful tool in combating the feelings of isolation and uncertainty. Whether it's dinner while one of your 'battle buddies' is in town, or a planned weekend with several members of your old unit, it brings back that sense of comfort, in addition to the encouragement offered between each other. Sebastion Junger, the documentarian behind 'Restrepo' said,
"The Army might screw you and your girlfriend might dump you and the enemy might kill you, but the shared commitment to safeguard one another's lives is unnegotiable and only deepens with time."
Many songs, poems, and stories throughout the ages have been written about those who endure the throws of battle together, how they are not merely friends anymore, instead, they are family. Reuniting with those you served with is a great path to healing. It may not all come at once, and it may take time, but it is beneficial. Find your brothers and sisters, have dinner with them, go to the lake, enjoy life because (and I'm paraphrasing here), for those that have fought to preserve life and liberty, life has a special flavor only they can taste. Start on that path to healing.