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On Vietnam Veterans Day, get in touch with someone who might want to drop off some baggage

I have a mate from the army who's in lockdown in Melbourne.

After a domestic blue, the police were called, he was locked up for a while and he's now alone in a hotel room with a smashed phone (courtesy the other party), a good supply of grog and plenty of memories to replay.  Alone. (And no charges, the umpires reviewed and found no case to answer.)

Our network is in touch, but it's hard to get around the lockdown.

When you're already carting a bit of baggage in your head it's good to have a mate who can help carry the load.

So if you know someone who has a bit on their plate, now's a good time to get on the phone or Facebook or however you keep in touch and just ask them how things are.

I was moved to write this because another military mate sent me a link to an art exhibition at the Australian War Memorial right now.

Here's one of the work of art that got me thinking.

Russell Fuller

Looking for a light through the darkness

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Transition to civilian life can be extremely challenging for soldiers. After discharge, what is expected to be boundless freedom becomes lonely abandonment. This is a portrait of  Ron, who served in the army for 24 years. During this time he was involved in action and was wounded in a peacekeeping operation in Cambodia. This portrait reflects what I noticed in Ron and other returned service personnel. The structures and codes of conduct that one once lived by, have all but evaporated. Meeting a person with shared experience who is able to understand the inner turmoil is infrequent. There’s the overwhelming feeling that all you have accomplished is unappreciated or worthless. To turn your back and walk away from a world that that you once staunchly defended, and that now seemingly does not care or understand, is a choice.

My intention for this drawing is to capture the emotion and inner schism of a veteran staring into the abyss, at the point of a decision that will change his life for ever, but he feels his options are limited.

Ron is ok, he has come back.


Lest We Forget Our Mates.

PS - I saw the resemblance too!  

Better give the grumpy old b... a ring.

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