Vets Suffering From PTSD Need Our Help
James P. Cullen, David R. Irvine and Stephen N. Xenakis – USA Today
On Veterans Day, we honor those who bravely served their country and offer our helping hand to assist those who have returned from war with wounds and physical disabilities. Countless veterans have endured violence and trauma that few others can fully imagine. They deserve our thanks. But some are left behind….
John Thuesen is on death row in Texas — a veteran of the Iraq conflict. His PTSD was not properly diagnosed or treated, and his lawyers did not do enough to explain his condition to the jury that convicted him of murdering his ex-girlfriend. Texas executes far more people than any other state in the country, so there is a real concern that his current appeal could be denied.
PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disoder] is not as obvious as a missing limb, but it can be deeply debilitating. The trauma from combat can simmer under the surface for years, then erupt in violence, often against family members…. Years later, the previous danger is no longer present, but the memory may set off a similar reaction, with deadly consequences. PTSD can be treated, but in one study only about half of the veterans who needed treatment received it.
Veterans Day and the Cost of ‘Forever Wars’
Rep. Jim McDermott – The Huffington Post
Because of perpetual wars like ours, we must use these occasions to reflect on the costs “forever wars” have exacted not just on those we have lost, but on those who survive them. For so many of our servicemen and women, this holiday season will be spent in another mess hall, far from home. For our military families, they will again brave the empty seat at Thanksgiving dinner or endure the absence of a father or mother on Christmas morning. In forever wars, Veterans’ Day is a heartbreaking reminder of those we’ve lost, and those who have yet to come home….
We have spent billions equipping our men and women for war. We train them, we arm them, we deploy them. And usually, we do it extremely well. What we have not yet learned to do well is bring them home, to care for their wounds, seen and unseen, to listen to their experiences, with empathy and openness….
We need real initiatives, real conversations, real funding to demonstrate to our servicemen and women that we’re committed to upholding our end of this deal. Putting on the uniform should come with the full faith and confidence that your country is prepared to care for you long after you come home.