I went from being G.I. Jon to being a broken mess. I went from being a high school student to a well-trained weapon from my country.
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So I'm part of this HBO documentary entitled Alive Day Memories in which the good folks at HBO, as well as James Gandolfini, try to bring some of our points of view to the blink box. This is so you as Americans and those of you around the rest of the world can have some inkling of what it is like to fight and die for something. It airs September 9th at 10:30 p.m. on the east coast of the USA. Wherever you are and whomever you may be affiliated with, it doesn't matter -- you should watch this documentary. I've seen it a few times and after the first time it burned into my memory. You'll want to show your friends, loved ones and associates because our perspectives on things are quite different from what is popular in the media.

Think of that for a second...popular in the media doesn't mean what is the truth but rather what people want to see over and over again. You don't see too many accounts of men and women in the field, or at least I have not. That may be because I sit and listen to these people talk and know they want to say more but cannot. From what I understand it's gotten worse since I left. They all must say the party line, that kind of thing. There are blogs and videos and all kinds of sites started by the soldiers, marines and sailors themselves, and you should look at them. But that's still the sanitized versions of their perspectives on reality. The news and the media don't give you truth no, they entertain and inform about things their viewers may want to know. However this documentary isn't what military men and women would talk about; the politics or the best way to shoot someone from 500 meters or how the navy is. No, we went and we all went because we had to go and then we got hurt and are now dumped back in the world. Our perspectives have changed. Mine has especially....

I went from being G.I. Jon to being a broken mess. Being a soldier is a job, true, but I had to come to that conclusion as I matured. Think about it this way. I went from being a high school student to a well-trained weapon from my country. To do something like that, to commit yourself to becoming that, you must believe in it with every fiber of your existence and become that which you aspire to. I did. Then I got hurt. It wasn't heroic, wasn't legendary, didn't save lives nor did I fall atop a pile of my slain enemies. No. I got killed by rolling over a bomb, laid there by cowards who knew they could not win in a stand-up fight with the U.S. military. When a soldier is taken out like that, when I was taken out like that, it broke me. Who I was, what I did, what my future was, and my self-worth were all put in this mirror of the mind. Everyone has it: the image of who you are in your head. Mine shattered that day almost three years ago. All the facets of who I was that were tied up to being a soldier were scattered around my mind, and the man I was lay broken, bleeding, screaming in rage and frustration at a universe so cruel as to deny him a proper warrior's death. But I lived, I survived, I have adapted and now I thrive. I am more than the sum of my parts, though I do require some assembly.

Being in the military for any length of time affects your perspective on things, then being forced to change your life as a result of a wound and then medically discharged from the military changes your views still more. I can honestly say I don't think like a soldier anymore. I still have the reflexes and skills of a soldier, and I hone them from time to time. Now I think like a businessman, a salesman, a statesman and, if you believe what my friends say about me, a Tyrant, with a capital T. I have new goals in life and a new outlook. Though I am still the bright and shiny optimist as ever to the bitter end of my life or to the end of days, whichever comes first. I believe I can change the world, make humanity mature just a bit and in the process, make enough money to get what I want...

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