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Chantelle Jones

My Dad the Hero
by Chantelle Jones

My dad like many other dadsí is a childís hero, except my dad is not only my hero because he is my dad (and a wonderful one at that) but because he had the courage and bravery to fight for his country and I am damn proud of him! My dad is suffering, like many other gulf war veterans at the hands of something too many civilians are unaware exists.

Itís called Gulf War Syndrome.

I am angry and hurt and wish my dad had never joined the army, yes I know I seem like a hypocrite because I am proud of him for something I wish he had never done in the first place but things arenít always black and white. I know that if he had never joined the army and gone to the first Gulf War (January 1991 Ė February 1991) he would be OK and not suffering so much, yet if you gave him the choice he would go back and do it again, as would most of the other veterans. Makes no sense to me but to him it obviously does, I donít see the bigger picture because I choose not to, no reason is big enough to make me understand why they would go back again. I see the consequences of the army daily with my dad but not only through him but so many admirable, wonderful heroes who also served in the same war and are gulf veterans. Some fathers, some mother and some neither. Also I see children who are experiencing some worse and some same circumstances.

I remember my dad before he went to the gulf, a wonderful, healthy young dad with what should have been an equally healthy future, which is now as far away from this reality as is possible. When he went to the gulf I remember crying so much I was retching, I missed him so bad it hurt even though I thought he had gone to golf not the gulf.

I waited for what seemed like ages for him to come home, but as harsh as this sounds when my dad went to the gulf he didnít come back the same person. Yes he looks just the same but heís like a stranger, 18 years later it is still hard to accept the person that he has become, even though I love him more than anybody could ever imagine.

I long to see him running around with my 3 gorgeous little children, playing rugby and doing things he used to do and being carefree and happy. I remember watching him play rugby and we used to sit in the bar and have dinner, he would get cottage pie and peas for us to share and I used to eat the cottage pie and leave him the peas. I used to go to judo with him, now those days are just memories.

I miss THAT dad, I want HIM back. All I see now is a dad who is in pain doing the smallest thing and suffering badly with his health, another day, another diagnosis. Each new diagnosis or anytime I see him in pain itís like a knife plunging into my heart and every new diagnosis is the twisting inside, the pain deepening. I wish I could take away my dadís pain and give him even just one day where he could be painless, happy and do anything he wants, that day will never come.

I wish I was a child, oblivious to it all, each birthday, another year older more to understand.

All these veterans I see every year, all been let down by society, the MOD turning their back on them sticking 2 fingers up saying you have done your service now get lost, not interested, moving onto the next generation of soldiers who will in time be forgotten also!!

DAD, I will be your voice when you canít be heard, I will be your light to guide you through your darkest days, I am proud to be your daughter, I am proud of you and you will always be my one and only hero! Lean on me and I will be your rock never far away.

I love you!

To All You Other Gulf War Veterans,
I am proud of you all, the level of courage, bravery and dignity you all demonstrate. I would make you all better if I could, I am very sorry that I canít. Each and every one of you deserve a medal and the appreciation of your country.

Be proud of yourselves because we all are!!!

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