Dixie Darr

The Next Mission

In Finding Your Calling, Lent - Season of Change on April 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Lent – Season of Change, Day 31

Why do veterans have such a hard time re-integrating into civilian life? They have notoriously high rates of alcoholism, addiction, homelessness, unemployment and suicide, and we see constant hand wringing and blaming over how to solve these huge problems.

Roadtrip Nation on PBS takes a very personal look at three transitioning vets in “The Next Mission.”

For years, the show has selected three young people who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives, put them on a tricked-out green RV and sent them across the nation to interview successful people who faced and conquered those same questions.

The participants this time are a bit older, 28 – 35, facing unique issues. Bernard is trying to start a nonprofit to help other veterans, but “I feel like an alien”; Helen, a single mom forced by an injury to retire after serving 15 years is struggling to find a new identity when “being out is not in my element”; and Sam who joined the Army at 17 and lost both legs in Afghanistan and now fights depression and tries to focus on what he can do instead of what he can no longer do.

In this one-hour special, they visit retired vets who give them advice and tell their own stories about discovering the opportunities of post-military life. “Don’t think of it as military life and civilian life; it’s life,” says a motivational speaker who came very close to suicide.

Yesterday is yesterday. Do something today.” “Use your military discipline and training.” “Find your purpose.” “Help other people.” “Talk about the things we learned that we are capable of.” “Go to school,” offered other vets who had made it out of the “Bat Cave” of depression, confusion and despair.

I’ve always liked this show and wished it had been available when I was young. I also wish that about computers and the internet. Now, though, I wish every struggling veteran could have a chance to take this trip.

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