Our Heroes on the Streets




Our heroes walk the streets in solitude; roaming in search of peace. The battle they are fighting comes from the actions they have seen, the wars that changed them and locked them in a cell absent of windows.

Brave men and woman who gave willingly for love of country, setting aside family to give to the nation what it needs to remain strong.

Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom have etched unforgettable images that cannot erase from the minds of our brethren’s.

Help is needed; a light bulb without a filament defeats the purpose. Uttering words to placate is not enough. Seeking answers without action is disparaging.

Our heroes are not asking for a place on a pedestal, but not to be forgotten. Taking off the uniform is not a signal, to stop caring and throw our champions to the back where the shadows are. War is not kind, neither are the streets

None of our defenders should be tossed away to grapple with desolation, hunger, a roof over their head, health, and mental care. Vets commit suicide, where is the honor of the country? Where is the protection for those who protected us? Can the nation seriously say it is doing all it can to contribute to a Vet’s peace of mind?

Losing a life is not only a loss to the country but to families who must continue to live, and ask —WHY. There is no definitive answer to buffer the impact of death. We will move on to the next victim and relive the same scenario. The crisis and it is a crisis, will expand, and gobble up more of our Veterans.

We eradicate Veteran’s homelessness. We must understand their plight, is it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) Substance abuse or mental illness, lack of skills or money? Regardless of which it is, we—must help them.

Rhetoric is easy, cost nothing, and has no substance. Those sitting in high places to pacify the sufferers and in many cases self-serving use it. Most have never served the nation under combat conditions, yet they make decisions for those making the sacrifice. They know what is best. Their illusion is not accurate — they have no clue.   

America must step up to the occasion rendering the vets; nothing less than First-Class Care— their due season has passed.


Hartley Barnes is a veteran who has served in three wars, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom. Retired from the Army in 2006, and went to worked in Iraq, and Afghanistan as a civilian contractor for six years. He is now home and writing. His focuses are creative and playwriting.  He can be reached at:reggaexpress@aol.com