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To the Readers


With writing these pieces I believe that I have learned a thing or two about writing itself. I never really enjoyed writing but some of these essays I found really easy to write about. The one about my Great Grandfather was the one that I enjoyed to write the most. The one about bullying was probably the hardest for the fact that it did require a lot of researching. The reflection essay was one that I did not think that it would have been hard to write but it forced me to do something that I do not like doing in the first place. The evaluation essay also was hard to write at first because I found it hard to convey what I wanted to say without just writing what happened. If these essays made me any better of a writer, I don t know for sure. I am not the best writer to begin with. Im sure that I did get better with each one that I wrote after looking at what comments were given with the peer reviews. Each essay had its own challenges in their own ways for me. As I already stated, the one that I had the most fun writing about was the one about my Great Grandfather. It allowed me the chance to incorporate something that I have been doing on the side with something that I had to do for a class. It also allowed me to do a little more research on the battle that he was taken prisoner from. I hope that in some ways I did grow as a writer. That I am now able to look at my own writings from a different way to see if I can make them better. Or am able to go more in-depth. I have always been one who just says what is on my mind without elaborating on what I have to say. I think that this does reflect in how I write and my style of writing itself. Honestly I think that writing this part of the portfolio is the hardest thing for that same reason. I have been

struggling with trying to find what to say without saying the same things that I have already said either in this part or in one of my essays. Never the less, I hope that at least one person has walked away having gained something from what I wrote. If it was the one about bullying, or if they just enjoyed hearing what I had to say about my efforts to learn more about my familys past. I am not going to try to kid myself or lie to say that I will continue to write anything outside of what I have to do for school or for work. I will say that I enjoyed hearing and reading some of what I have read during this class and hope that some of you stick with your convictions. Weather you write about them or speak them in the years to come, just stay true to who you are and what you believe in, and that can take you a long way.

One Unknown Prisoner A TALE OF ONE MANS JOURNEY I will tell the tale of a man that I have never had the chance to know in this life. Really all that I know is what I have learned from doing so sort of detective work. It has lead my Mother and I from the United States to Canada, and then to England and back. I know this man only by name and a few black-and-white pictures. When I first came across these pictures I was told that he is my Great Grandfather. My mind started to soar as I seen these images with all the different questions that I wanted answers to. Once I asked my first question, my Mother said that she knows about as much about him as I do. For my Mother and I, the journey started there. All we really knew at that point was a name, and for some reason that he was in a Scottish kilt in the black and white pictures. Now, like everything in life, things start with taking the first step, we just needed to find out what direction to start.

Starting off with his name and a small amount of information concerning his military unit from the newspaper article, we asked my Grandfather for any information that he may have. He gave us the names of the two that would be my Great Great-Grandfather and Grandmother. He could not really give us any more information than that due to him passing away when my Grandfather was very young. Given this little bit of information we started to look on the internet about the history of his unit that he served with during World War II. So we sent an official request for his military records from the Canadian military archives center. We also asked not just for his records, we also asked for the units records as well. What we have found out is extremely interesting for my Mother and me. At the same time it gave us some answers and made a lot of new questions. Every day we are learning new things about him and his unit. I will start by telling what we know about him. His name was Lewis Bagnell, son of William and Mollie Bagnell, from Cleveland Ohio. And a father of three boys. Their names where Lewis Jr., Tom, and my Grandfather Donald. And yes, I still have that same question of how and why someone from the United States was serving with the Canadian Army. Are family believes that he made the choice to join the Canadian military since they were joining the fighting in World War II so much sooner than us here in America. Of course this is only speculation, but it is the only reason that we can see as being feasible. We know he enlisted on July 4th, 1940. We are unsure at this time of when he was discharged from the military as we are still waiting for his records to be sent to us. He was born on January 13th, 1913; and died on May 5th, 1948. I will explain later the things that led up to his passing at such a young age. Now the big question that my Mother and I are working on answering right now is what is the story from July 4th, 1940 up to the time he passed away.

What we know as of right now is very limited as we are still waiting for his military service records from the Canadian archives center. The information that we have gotten from them is very limited. What we have been able to piece together so far is that the division was deployed to the United Kingdom between 1 August and 25 December 1940 (Wikipedia). The time frame in between them setting off to sea heading for the United Kingdom and them taking part of what is known as Operation Jubilee is still unknown. Having served in the military myself, Im sure that it was a lot of training, training, and more training. This operation that he was a part of was to be his first and last operation that he would take part of during World War II. He was still not done fighting though, and this is why. He boarded a ship on August 18th, 1942 and landed on the beaches of Dieppe on the 19th. 4,963 Canadians left for this battle, 913 which were killed in action, and 1,946 were taken as prisoners of wars. My Great Grandfather was one of the almost 2,000 men that were to be held as a POWs for 21 months. The information that we have about his time as a POW is the information that we have been able to get from the archive center. (Picture provided from an unknown online source) The forces that were to take part of Operation Jubilee where made up of 4,963 Canadian troops, 1,075 British troops, and 50 additional troops made up of U.S. Army Rangers and Allied Commandos. This battle was considered to be the dress rehearsal for the main invasion that we know as D-Day. They landed on the French beaches at Dieppe (pronounced DEE~EPP) in an attempt to fight and to liberate Caen,

France and other sea side towns and villiages. (Holocaust Encyclopedia) From the beginning things started to go terribly wrong. They say the battle started around 5:00am and around 10:30am the units were forced to call retreat. So none of their objectives or missions were achieved. Of all the men that made it ashore 60% were either killed, wounded, or captured. Now that you know of the story of the battle of Dieppe I will tell you about how the man that I barely know and I am fascinated by, fits into this tale, and the battle that he faced. (Following picture is an unknown resource) Like so many others he was to be held as a Prisoner of War. From the time that he was captured he ended up spending 21 months in captivity. He was to be held at Stalag VIII-B in Germany. We are still waiting to learn of his exact date that he and his fellow brother-in-arms were rescued from the Hell that he was forced to leave through. Upon release he returned to New York on the ship Gripsholm, arriving June 6, 1944. Once back in the states he was given a short amount of leave, and then he would return to Canada for additional medical treatment. While on his furlough in Masontown, Pennsylvania he is quoted in a newspaper article as saying he would like nothing better to get back in action and help his buddies win the war. (Klondike Bulletin newspaper) This would not end up happening, for the injuries that he suffered either during the raid on Dieppe or while in captivity, would never allow him to see combat service. After this time he was sent back to Canada and England for medical treatment. We do know if he was first sent to England or was allowed to come home first. We are not sure due to hearing conflicting stories. During the time that he was in was in France and later Germany, he ended up losing his right eye and had several leg wounds that would prevent him from ever returning to see combat again. These injuries are what would end up being the cause of his death about

4 years later. He would end up passing away on May 1st, 1948, succumbing to the aftermath of his injuries. One thing that we do know is that someone from those Canadian units ended up writing a poem called Lest We Forget Battle of Dieppe. The poem goes

Lest We Forget August 18th, 1942 It was the eighteenth day of August, in nineteen forty two, We sailed from Merry England and no one knew where to. We had received no orders, no one to see us leave. The second Canadian Division with the blue patch on their sleeve.

Early the next morning when everything was still. We saw the tracer bullets coming at us from the Hill. But we kept right on sailing, and no man will forget. The morning that we landed on the beach there at Dieppe.

The enemy were waiting, and had taken up their posts. We met a hail of bullets, as we landed on the coast. But everyman there landed, or at least he tried. Though many of them were wounded, and many more had died.

It was early in the morning, when we started in to fight.

The mortar bombs came at us from the front, left, and right. They shelled us from the cliff and bombed us from the air. But the second Canadian Division were no so easy to scare.

We fought them for eight hours from six a.m. till two. Our losses were terrific, but there was nothing we could do. The Navy came to help us but there boats they could not land. So we had to surrender at Dieppe there on the sand.

What is left of us is prisoners beneath a foreign flag. Here in the heart of Germany, in Camp VIII-B Stalag. Many of our comrades fell, but we never will forget. They gave their life fighting in the Battle of Dieppe. When this War is over, and once again were free. To our homeland well be sailing, which is far across the sea. Though many have a battle scar, there no one will forget. The morning that we landed on the French Coast at Dieppe.

The one who wrote this will probable forever be Unknown

I know that are search will continue. I know that my mother and I will always wounder what the truth is. We also know that we will never find out all the facts, because as time goes

on his fellow brothers of war will all pass and then those telling the story will end. The only thing left to do is to learn as much as I can to continue telling of his and the rest of their tale in hopes that someone else will find it as interesting as I do. Then they too can tell of the tale of those poor men who fell on those beaches of France. So we too can never forget. So I will now close with a simple statement, and that is Just when you think that you cant go any further, know that you can if you put forth the effort.

By: Donald Morgan

A National Problem
Have you ever been bullied, or know someone who has? Childhood bullying is a problem that ends up happening all too often. Everyone should know what bullying is and what to look for to have a chance to spot bullying when it happens. Childhood bullying is a very serious problem and can cause both physical and psychological damaging that can lead to server depression and other mental health issues throughout adulthood. It could even lead to them possibly ending up having servere criminal actions later in life. With this article Im hoping to help you notice it when you see it. I also hope to teach you some positive options to deal with the issue when you see it. Another goal of mine is to give you some of the statistics to show just how ramped of a problem we face as a society. I will also share some stories of what it truly feels like to be bullied. For those very few that never had to deal with being the one getting bullied, I plan on giving you a good enough example to allow you

to put your feet in their shoes. Showing those of you that may have been the bully and possible never realized how you made some person feel and go through. I am now going to tell you what it means to be a bully. So what is bullying in laymen terms? It is a behavior by a person or group that hurts another physically or mentally. For children it can happen anywhere and at any time. At home, school, or even online. Physical bullying can be anything from hitting, shoving, or pretty much to use your body in any way to hurt or to force someone to do something he or she doesnt want to do. Bullying by verbal assault use to be the most common form of bullying. Commonly causing just as much fear as being physically bullied. The new most common form is cyber bullying. At the rate that this trend is growing, we truly are seeing a large epidemic that will put so many of our kids lives at risk. Explaining the main types of bullying can be very difficult for the simple reason that they are all so complex. And so many times they can tend to overlap one another. Being physically bullied can take on many different forms. It can take place between just the two people, or it could be from a group physically assaulting a child. This can include any form of physical assault. The most commonly thought of one is a child being beaten up or hit is some form. However this can include practical jokes, stealing, or sexual assault. Physical bullying can be broken down more into several different forms. Hitting, pushing, tripping, slapping, and spitting are all forms of assault when a child is being bullied. At times this can cross the lines into sexual harassment or sexual assault. They have to meet some criteria to be considered physical bullying though. One such criteria is that the victim has to have been targeted repeatedly. And this has to be considered to be done with the intent to hurt,

embarrass, or intimidate the child. The perception of a real or perceived imbalance of power has to be there as well. However, sometimes it only takes one time to cause such injuries as broken bones or even very serious irreversible health problems like brain damage. Most times it starts with verbal bullying before it takes that leap towards someone being physically bullied.

Verbal abuse can be just as damaging, or more so on a child then physical bullying. The age of the child can change many different factors in how and in what way the child could be effected by this type of bullying. With this type of bullying, the goal of the aggressor is still the same as that of physical bullying. That is to degrade and demean the victim. All the while making the aggressor feel dominant and powerful. The younger the child, the less likely he/she could suffer from server physical and mental problems caused by this form of bullying. Younger the child, the more likely the child is to tell on another for saying something meanly. Therefor an adult will intervene and place a stop to the abuse at that time. If the child is older though, then they are less likely to tell someone to have them intervene. They will continue to keep it in, letting it build up. Because of keeping it in, this is where a child is more likely to start feeling the effects of multiple forms of depression. That could lead to that child allowing themselves to act out physically because they have no other form of an outlet. Verbal assault itself can take the form of name calling, making a mockery of how someone is different, or as far as them telling the child being bullied that this world would be better without them. And that last part can be done by them saying I wish you were dead or why dont you go and kill yourself. Yes, there are hundreds of different ways that all the forms of verbal abuse could be said. One of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to this type of bullying is that it is too late before someone notices it. Let alone someone do something about it. Branching off the verbal bullying is cyber bullying. And this is coming with its own types of problems that we are just starting to learn about.

Cyberbullying is using any form of modern communication like Facebook, text messaging, or any other social media to harass or intimidate another person. One big problem is that no one typically hears or sees the bullying happening. So it is hard to know when it is going on. Just like with verbal bullying, the older the child the less likely they are to say something to someone about it. One key difference between cyber and verbal bullying is when someone says something out in the open just a few people may hear it. When it is posted on a social media website, then it is there for all to see. We are seeing a much larger amount of people being bullied by groups then just by one person. Cyberbullying is its own worst enemy for the children that use this as there form to pick on and cause grief for another. The thing is, is once it is put on the web , its out there, and they cant take it off or really take it back. When a child either stands up for themselves or something tragic happens authorities can use exactly what is written to use as evidence to be able to punish the bullies. More and more often we are seeing tragic events all because of bullying. So laws have been passed making it illegal to use any of the forms of technology to bully someone. Just getting the story of those whom lives have come to tragic ends because of bullying out there we might become more aware of how much of a national problem we face. One such person is Rebecca Sedwick. However her story was told too late in the September 13, 2013 article by the Associated Press, Terrorized: The gut Wrenching Story behind a 12 year olds suicide. For about a year, Rebecca Sedwick, was being bullied by a group of girls at school and online. When her mom found out she transferred her to another school but the Cyberbullying continued. After receiving online messages from those girls saying, You

should die and Why dont you just kill yourself, on September 9, 2013, 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick climbed a tower and jumped. After her death, her mother found her diaries and learned of the severity of her depression caused by the torment of her bullies. Sadly its too late for Rebecca, but for other children, bullying behavior should not be tolerated any longer. Another example is of a boy named Seth. Seth was a 13-year-old boy who attended Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi, Calif. The teen was found unconscious on Sept. 19 after he tried to hang himself from a tree in his backyard. It was reported that he was teased for years about being gay. He was rushed to the hospital, where he sadly passed away one week later. Here is one more example of how ugly people are to each other. An 18 -year-old Rutgers student with a promising future, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge in September. His roommate secretly taped Clementi in a sexual encounter with another male in his dorm room, and posted it live on the Internet. Or how about an example from closer to home, The Associated Press recently reported a story about four Ohio teens who took their own lives after being tormented and teased to the point of no return. This small Cleveland suburb has been plagued numerous times, and parents of the victims are devastated and outraged. The families of the victims, one who was bullied for being gay, one for having a learning disability, and another who was a boy who liked to wear pink. The families have decided to sue the school district. This was announced after the mother of the most recent casualty, Sladjana Vidovic, decided to sue. Sladjana took her own life by hanging herself. The last words of this innocent 16-year-old were hand written in a note that spoke of her everyday nightmares of being teased for her Croatian accent and called a slut while having food thrown at her. (All snips come from an internet article at: -teens-

commit-suicide-after-being-6943802.html) These are just a small example of all the ones that are known that are out there and just waiting for their story to be told as well. And the amount of stories like these just keep rising. Now its just a matter of what can be done to help these young people being plagued by this torment. Starting with looking at children first we need to take some things into account. After we look at some of the statistics then that is when we can look at what are the norms for the ones doing the bullying and the ones that are being bullied? Then we can apply what is read here to your area and type of society that you or your children go to school in. One big fact is that American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims (Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center). That makes it about 1 in 7 Students in Grades K12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying. How about that 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying, and this is probably why It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students (National Education Association). How about those in the lower grades reporting being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools. Why anyone would be surprised by the fact that 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school. One thing I wonder about is how or why only 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school. With this information we can take a look at the children that are being bullied. (Statistics used for this paragraph come from the website Usually, the child being bullied has a hard time protecting themselves and may not want to tell anyone because of being embarrassed or fear of retaliation. So some times the child that

is being bullied can be hard to spot. Using stereotype in this case can help. If you look for the children that seem to be withdrawn from groups or crowds could be a good indicator. For those that are the ones to seem to have a short fuse. Look for the kids that have the unexplained injuries. Being that the teachers are the ones that see these kids grades on a daily bases, if they see a drop in a students grades that too could be a useful tool to spot a child that is being bullied. In 2011 a survey conducted by the US department of Justices bureau of statistics, 28% of students reported being bullied in school that year and that is not even including online bullying. In order to help prevent this problem, we need to know what these signs are and the steps of how teacher and the parents could going to school. Knowing what though. Knowing what to do is the hardest parts about being to take the appropriate action. The see a show of anxiety towards to look for will only go so far another story. This is also one of able to fight this growing problem

because with each case of bullying it is different. However lets take a look at some things that could be steps in the right direction. Schools need training on anti-bullying policies and should have Zero tolerance for it. Plus this is not just the schools thing to fight. Parents need to be proactive with this process as well. Parents should to be more aware of what is going on in their childs life and It should never be okay or accepted for a child to harass, intimidate, or hurt another child. Dont allow your child to shut you out of their life. Stay involved, and always let them know that you are there for them if they need anything. Even to just talk without getting mad at them. If bullying is suspected, taking the necessary steps can help put a stop to it. Lets look at some things that

we could do to give children encouragement to stand up for themselves or another. 1st Praise the child for telling, sometimes kids wont tell until the damage is done. Dont place blame on the victim for that will only discourage them and others more. 2nd Talk to the school and or the parents of the bully to bring awareness of the situation. 3rd keep detailed records of what was discussed, who you talked to, dates, and other important information. 4th Dont back down, be strong for the child, and be persistent until the issue is solved. Dont be afraid to get the authorities involved if need be. At the higher levels, the help is also needed. Without their help we as a society are not going to get the support needed to put an end to this. According to the cyberbullying research center, July 14, 2013, 49 states now have anti bullying laws including Ohio which states: District policy prohibits harassment, intimidation, or bullying. Also in 2012, the Jessica Logan act was passed which prohibits cyber bullying. After 18 year old Jessica Logan, who was a victim of cyber bullying, took her life. Along with Zero tolerance, better supervision and teaching children appropriate assertiveness to stick up for themselves and others are key in prevention. This is where and why the need for the higher levels of government are needed to support laws being put in place to detour others from bullying. With luck, preventing another child from feeling like they need to end their life to put an end to this torment. We also as a society need to take measures like the Jessica Logan law before more disasters happen. If we were more proactive with putting these kinds of laws in place then we might have far less school shootings and student on student violence. We could lessen the amount of these young kids taking their own life.

In conclusion, bullying can have long term physical and mental effects on children and that knowledge is power in prevention. Now that you know what bullying is, the effects of it, and the possible prevention methods, get out there and lets help our children. Being aware of this problem may help put an end to childhood bullying and its effects on the children of our future. But if no one does anything then this will continue and it will continue to grow. I hope that these pieces of information will help those of you with your own children and will encourage you to take a closer look at them to help protect them. Just remember to stand up for what is right and to talk to your kids and make sure that they are aware that there is help out there for them or their friends.

What was your thoughts about military when you got close to that time graduation from high school? So many Americans made the choice to join, and one of them. Did it really benefit me as the of young I was now I

enter my Thirties with a wife and three kids? There are times in life that I wonder if I made the right choice. I was one that did not have many options available to me after graduation. Mostly from my own choices, and looking back I know that I did it to myself given the choices that I made. I was too immature for collage, and had no plan for my life at that time. So I made the choice to go and talk to the recruiter. I talked only to two branches of the military. I talked to the Army and the Marine Corps. When I talked to the Army, I had the feeling that they were telling me anything they could to get me to agree to joining. When I talked to the Marine recruiter that was another story all together. The Army recruiter was telling me how much I would love life in the Army. That all that I would experience would be a once in a life time event. To put it politely, he tells me how the women would fall all over me when I came home in my uniform. And how proud my family will be of me. All these great things that would happen when I signed on the dotted line. Now I was like most kids at that age and would have loved to believe all that he was saying. When I started to ask questions trying to get him to tell me the down side, he made sure that he changed the subject as fast as he could. You should have seen his face when I said well thank you for your time and that I was going to go and talk to the Marine recruiter. To put it bluntly, he was not too happy. So I left and ended up having a whole different experience. When I came into the office for the Marine recruiter I was told that the Marines dont need me. So if I wanted to join I had to be serious. So I started to ask a question, and was stopped very quickly. He simply said, first dont ask questions that I dont want the answers to. I was also told that he was not going to puff smoke up my ass because he does not care if I decide to join or not. So I asked him what it was like to be a Marine. The first thing that he told

me was that a Marine will always be held to a higher standard than all other people in the Military and if I could not handle that then to go else where. The next thing that he told me is that the Marines have the hardest training out of all the other branches. And if I did not think that I could handle it then I could get up and leave. So I asked what he meant by the hardest training. He told me that its not the physical pain that I would have to worry about, that I would be torn down mentally. And most that try end up failing because they cannot handle the mental aspect. I asked him what about after boot camp. At first, he just looked at me. He said that I would have to prove myself worthy of being a Marine. He left that at that with one final statement. That I would have to find out for myself because for every Marine it is different. Simply because all Marines go through the same things, but everyone handles it differently. So I made up my mind of the branch of service that I would be going into. I left for boot camp on July 9th, 2002. On the flight down there my mind raced with what I was about to go through. Even in my wildest dreams I could not have anticipated what I just gotten myself into. After the flight we get loaded onto a bus. That bus ride felt like it took forever to get to our final destination. But when we did arrive it was an eye opening experience. A Drill Instructor goes on the bus and gave us some instructions of what we were going to do, and then he told us to get off his bus. However none of us could follow the instructions very well. We just were extremely confused. As the saying goes we were lost in the sauce. After they made sure we got them right, we ended up going through the in-processing. Where we continued to get punished for messing up the smallest things. So the mental tear down continued for the next thirteen weeks. At the same time they were also building us up. Our self-confidence, self-esteem, and our discipline.

After I got out of the Marine Corps, I spent a year and a half still not doing much with my life. Having trouble with finding a job, let alone holding down a job. Seeing so many people that did not conduct themselves like we did in the Marines rubbed me the wrong way. The type of team work that I had in the Marines, I just could not find outside of the Military. So I decided to go back in the Military. At this point I had a long term relationship. I explained to her that I was going back in the Military. I tried to explain to her the type of life that she could expect, and yes I did not do a good job at that. Yet she agreed to marry me to be able to go with me. This time I decided to go into the Army. After training for a new job field for fifteen weeks I came home and told my new wife to pack up that we are heading to Fort Hood, TX. So she started to learn to be able to deal with change at a moments notice. Fast forward ing to my time in the Military that I believe made me grow up the most other than having children. I deployed to Iraq on October 24th, 2007. I was told that my unit was having the deployment extended to eighteen months. Without going to much in to everything that I experienced during my time in Iraq, I will try to explain in what ways it benefited me in life since I got out. My deployment was cut short, but was still longer than previous deployments. I came home January 2009. I ended up getting out of the Military in June of 2010. After I got out of the Military, I started having the same trouble that I was having when I got out of the Marines. It took me all the way till about eight months ago to find a job that I ended up loving. I am currently a Veteran Service Officer for the Veteran origination VFW. I think that the reason I am doing so well with this job is because I work with mostly all Veterans, and work for Veterans by helping them to obtain VA benefits.

As for if going into the military has benefited me as a person, there are two different point of views. That of mine, and that of those whom knew me before I left for the Military. Starting with my own opinion because it is easier to get across, I believe that in a lot of ways it has made me a better person and in other ways it has made things worse. Starting with the way it has bettered me. With my work ethic, I believe I have a very strong work ethic. Strong with teamwork and dedication to my job, even the ones that I do not enjoy doing. I am able to block out a lot of distractions to concentrate on the task at hand. I have large dedication to taking care of my family and close friends, just as I was trained to take care of my soldiers that I was in charge of. For the way that it made things worse, I have a short fuse. Sometimes it does boil over into the home life. That is the part that I wish was not the case. I tend to be a very high strung person. I am also a very hyper alert type of person always looking over my shoulder and looking at what is around me. As for those who knew me before I went in, there opinion is much higher than my own. All for the same good reasons that I listed before. Then there are others. I have become more mature then most people my own age in their opinion. I also tend to get along with those that are older than myself. One of my really good friends is fifteen years older than myself. I have also been told by my family that all around that I am able to handle hard events in life. Times that my family goes through hardships I tend to be the rock that people can rely on. Not every aspect of my life is made easier from my time in the Military. While I was in Iraq I ended up having a mortar round that exploded close to me and ended up giving me a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI. Because of this issue, I tend to have a hard time with certain aspects of my life. The biggest thing that it has made hard in my life is that the TBI has caused me suffer from epilepsy. I have seizures that tend to take a lot out of me.

When I have one, my body is so worn out that I am unable to even get out of bed because of the pain that my body goes through. Now these conditions dont affect me in a way that does not allow me to function in life. I just manage my conditions and adapt to my surroundings. So everything goes back to what that recruiter said to me when I went into the Marines, that I would have to find out for myself because for every Marine it is different.

Reflection can be a funny and sometimes a dangerous thing. One can spend hundreds of hours or more thinking about the past, things that they would change, or things that they wished they could do again just to re-live the experience. Me, personal Im not a fan of wondering what if or could things been different if I made a different choice. I f I do spend time reflecting on things then I try to think of that of witch helped shape me in to who I am, or the way that I think. Hoping to keep more positive. I will give you a slight look at one of the biggest things that helped shape the way I view life itself. I have a job that allows me the opportunity to listen to Veterans, and how they can or cannot cope with living with PTSD. I work as a Veteran Service Officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). I help Veterans file for benefits with the Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA). One of the claims that gets filed the most often is for PTSD. Allowing to file the claim with the best chance for approval for service connection I have to listen to their stories. And it is not always war related as most think. The different reasons that Veterans suffer from this condition can vary greatly. Simply no one is affected the same way, even if they went through the same

experience. Even I was affected differently than the man that was standing next to me that day my unit took a mortar strike. I want to clarify the misconception of how PTSD breaks down. For example, I dont have PTSD, however I do have anxiety with hyper-alertness. PTSD itself can go from just as mild as the hyper-alertness, to as server as people that have been known to have given them self-heart attacks. Now let me explain what service connection is, it is when some condition is considered to have been caused by some sort of event or injury in the military that Veterans can be compensated monetarily from the VA. In connection with my own experience and getting to listen to different Veterans experiences have really shaped my view on life. The biggest cause of PTSD is combat. That is not the only reason though. One of the other large reasons that some Veterans have PTSD is due to what is called MST or Military Sexual trauma. That goes for both men and woman. The saddest thing is that it is not reported while the Veteran is in the military. And that happens to many times. I have Veterans suffering from combat or MST related PTSD. Both mild and server conditions. Sometimes, when they talk to me so I can assist them with filing their claim, it is the first time that they have ever talked to anyone about what they experienced. For example, I have this one Veteran that was one of the very few that survived the battle of Heart Break Ridge. The family member that was at the bed side was in amazement at what she herd, being that he never spoke about any of it before. I also have other Veterans that were never in a direct firefight, but suffer just as much. For the simple reason that they ended up losing a lot of close friends, or as we sometimes call them our battle buddies. I also deal with both men and woman

service members that either were or was witness to rap. And they too, are scarred for their life. Now you may wonder how this all relates to how I reflect with regards to myself. I listen to them tell me the tail of what they live with, and more important, how they live with these images or thoughts. If they are one of the ones that have found productive ways, I try to apply those ways to my own life. For the ones that dont, I know what not to do. At the same time, for the ones who at times are destructive with how they deal I try to tell them some of the better ways that I have learned to possibly help them. As long as it works for someone else or even myself then it makes it all worth it. And yes, it has come in handy a time or two. I do have to remind myself once and awhile that those experiences are theirs and that I cannot let it become my pain as well. Hearing all these different stories, I see how so many other people reflect. That is how it can be bad for someone with how they choose to reflect. If they dwell on something bad without using it to better their life in some way then they will never be able to move pass that point in their life. For example, I have friends that have gone to both ends of the spectrum with how they choose to use their reflection. On the good side, I have a close friend that chose to give his life to God, and become a Pastor. And has been doing that for 16 years. He has also been a youth Pastor, troubled teen mentor, and a good friend to talk to for a long time. He has ended up getting a bachelors and two masters degrees since he has been out of the military. One that has allowed it to effect the way they live negatively is probably the worst that I have seen where they have not ended up taking their life, which ends up happing too often. This man has spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars changing the locks on all his doors about every 5 to 6 months for almost 40 years. Has paid to have all the fans in his house removed

because they remind him of the helicopters coming in to take out the wounded and dead. His wife, as strong as she is, has had to defend herself at night when he ends up having a night terror. He was only able to keep a job for the simple fact that his supervisor was a fellow Vietnam Veteran himself and understood what he was going through, and was willing to cover for him when he needed to step away to get control of his emotions. In many ways, both of these two Veterans are just alike, they just ended up making different choices on how they were going to deal with what is going on. And this is why I say that it can also be a very dangerous way to live your life when it comes to reflecting. I am very grateful that I do not suffer with PTSD on a server level. I have been blessed with the way I am effected by and choose to live with what I have seen. Because of the last example that I just gave, this is why I choose not to reflect the way most people view reflecting. This is why I try to make the way that I reflect as positive as possible. Because of this outlook, I have been able to have a greater respect for life. I have been able to grow in my marriage, and have it become a very strong marriage at that. I appreciate my family and my family life more than I did before I went over to Iraq. Even my wife noticed a change. Now this is not to say that I go through life without my moments of anger or depression. I dont believe that anyone is immune to that. I just know that I have a lot of experience to pull from even if it is not my own to assist me with being able to handle what life throws my way. I believe that there is always a moral to a story with every tale like this that you read or hear. It is just a matter of what that moral is for you. I hope that you can find a way to apply some of what I gone through, whether it is things that I have heard or have lived to some sort of good in your own life. With any luck, it could also have a chain effect. One day you might

have someone else that you can help with what you have heard here today. Now I say go and live your life with what is going on now, and yes learn from your pass, just be careful of dwelling. And if I may leave you with a word from the wise, be careful of how you reminisce no matter what it is about. For even if it was a good event, you just may never get pass that point in your life.