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Guest speaker veteran

On May 11th, we got a visit from Maarten. He was a veteran in the army from
1997 until 2000. Maarten is 38 years old, married and has three children. He
became a soldier voluntarily.
In the lesson, Maarten talked about what it actually means to be a veteran, the
conflicts in the Balkans and Yugoslavia, the mission he was on and how life is
when youre on a mission.
What is a veteran?
A veteran is a soldier serving the Netherlands in warfare, peace missions or
international affairs. In the Netherlands there are 115,000 military veterans. The
mission of the veterans is to restore and/or maintain peace. In that particular
area you can find a lot of non-profit organizations.
Maarten served for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) during his time as a
veteran. From May to November 1998 he served in Bosnia and from January to
July 2000 he served in Kosovo.
Some soldiers can get post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from their
experiences. It is a mental health condition that someone may go through after
experiencing or witnessing a terrible event. The person can have flashbacks,
nightmares and anxiety.
Conflicts in the Balkans
Yugoslavia was ruled by Tito from the Second World War
until his death in 1980. After his death, small conflicts
started between different ethnical groups. In 1992, the UN
started a mission in Yugoslavia to prevent an escalation of
the conflict. Soldiers were called from 25 different
countries to make peace talks possible. Unfortunately, the
UN didnt have enough mandates or guns to make peace.
In 1995, the NATO took the mission over. Also, in this year
the Dayton Agreement was set up. This meant that it was
the official end of the civil war and the emerge of various independent countries
instead of Yugoslavia.
Maartens mission
Maarten was send on the mission KOFR. This meant that their task was to enforce
the ceasefire and to enable the return of refugees. What had to be done?
Rebuilding homes, schools, hospitals and water supply. They had to clear mine
fields and mass graves, and restoring roads and bridges
Life when youre on a mission
When youre on a mission, youre six months away from home. There is no
internet connection, so you have to write letters to the home front. Sometimes
you can make short phone calls. During the six months serving there is one visit
home in between. You sleep in tents with others. Maarten explained that when
youre on a mission, you always carry a gun with you. When he was back home, it
felt like he was missing something. As a veteran, you have to carry a uniform
which is very heavy.
At the end of the lesson, we did a sort of game. You are on a mission and you
have to make an important decision? What do you do? I think this was difficult
sometimes because both sides have advantages and disadvantages.

The article that I found is about an American soldier that died while serving in
Afghanistan. The article is connected to the guest lesson because of the game we
played. You are on a mission in Afghanistan and have to decide several things. In
one of the issues, a soldier was wounded and had a risk of losing his life.