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Winter 2014 Powerful Voice Winner Audrey Cameron

Audrey Cameron, a student of Erin Conley at The Peace & Justice Academy in Pasadena, California, read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country," by Dr. Edward Tick, a story about the many veterans he sees physically and emotionally wounded from serving in the war, and how we, as community members, can help these warriors heal.

Writing prompt: Imagine what it's like to serve in a war. Write a letter to a veteran—fictitious or someone you know. Whether or not you agree with U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, how might you welcome this soldier home, and express your support for the transition this soldier faces as he or she returns to civilian life?



Dear Emily
Iraq Veteran

A veteran with Iraq Veterans Against the War marches in New York on the 5th anniversary of the U.S. war in Iraq. Photo by: Joseph O. Holmes

By Audrey Cameron

An imagined letter to be sent to a veteran friend.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Emily,

I miss you like crazy. It’s so strange to go about life without you! The mind plays tricks on you when you want to see someone as much as I want to see you. Sometimes I think I see you around—up the street or just around the corner—but you’re always gone just as I catch up. Just another stranger with your frayed jeans and cat eye sunglasses. Who even wears glasses like that? Life feels so empty without your smiling face. I can’t wait till you’re back next week!

Your friend,

Audrey

 

Dear Emily,

I am waiting for you to call so we can catch up, OK? I don’t want it to be awkward tomorrow. My heart is ready to explode with relief! I have been so worried about you. I’m glad your tour is over so you can get back to normal life.

Your friend,

Audrey

 

Oh Emily,

I am so sorry. I heard about the flashback you had on the way home from the airport. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. I know you can get through this. Please believe me when I say, I am here for you always.

Your friend,

Audrey

 

Dear Emily,

The doctors won’t let me see you. I guess only family for now. How are you feeling? I’m so sorry that I just assumed life would, or even could, go back to normal right away. I may not believe in the Afghan war, but your dedication inspires me so much.

Your friend,

Audrey

 

Dear Emily,

I was at your mom’s house today cleaning up your room for your return. I didn’t know you kept that picture of us at graduation! They say I can visit on Wednesday. Is that alright with you? I read an article from YES! Magazine today called “Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country.” The United States may be good at fighting wars, but we need to work on welcoming home vets. I am so proud of you and your strength.

Your friend,

Audrey

 

Dear Emily,

It was so wonderful to see you today! With all that has been going on, I forgot how much I missed just being around you. I am glad you are starting to feel like your normal self again. Remember, I just want to be there to support you in whatever ways you need.

Your friend,

Audrey

 

Dear Emily,

How is life at home again? I always find comfort in familiarity. Another source of comfort, if it isn’t obvious by now, is writing. Did you get the journal I left on your bed? I hope you can relax better at home than at the hospital. I have also been researching “returning veteran” sites online. You should take some time to look for anything you think might help you. Let me know if you want to talk about anything. I could never imagine the horrors of war or the pain or guilt or fear that you went through, but I can always listen as you try to work through it. You are stronger than I could ever be.

I am so honored to know you and to call you my best friend.

Peace and love,

Audrey

 


Audrey Cameron photo

Audrey Cameron is a freshman at The Peace & Justice Academy in Pasadena, California. She loves playing the violin, reading, and writing short stories. Audrey is currently involved in the Colburn String Orchestra and enjoys playing with them at many different venues, including California Adventure, and Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Audrey hopes to pursue a medical career.

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