Purple Heart

Middle aged soldier, wearing full military dress uniform, with medals on the front, including an actual Purple Heart medal.

I enlisted when I was 18. My mom had died when I was 9 and my dad was a hard-ass who became a drunk and I couldn't wait to get away from him. I was in some trouble when I was 17, but I squeaked out of it because I was a minor - and so I figured my best exit strategy out of all of the chaos was to join up. I went through training, and did really well. I actually liked all of the structure and discipline. After what I'd grown up with, the military was a piece of cake. I ended up in the mid-east, where I was shot up. I recuperated at Walter Reed for 6 months, and eventually they awarded me the Purple Heart medal for having been wounded in battle.

But I have to say, I feel like I earned this medal years before I enlisted, because I've had battle wounds from as early as I can remember. From life, you know. From my dad. Beatings. Beratings. Harsh punishment. I think he was so torn up by the loss of my Mom and was mad at God and didn't know how to deal with it, that he took it out on me. I also carry scars from some of the messes I made all on my own. Yes, I was wounded in battle a LONG time ago. But now I have this symbol of heroism and bravery. I didn't ask for it but now I have it. And so I wear it -- to honor those who didn't make it out alive.

Purple 1
Purple 2
Purple 3