Most of us recognize that the Americans who served in the military over the last ten years gave up their safety and comfort to fight for beliefs and values that most of us hold dear. But it’s not just that — many of these veterans gave up their peace of mind for a long, long time to come.
The fact is that over 11 million American veterans of service suffer from PTSD. And anybody who’s ever had anything to do with the military knows that the man or woman who steps forward to seek help and be counted is a rare bird; the pressure is huge to “man up” and deal with it alone. Plus, VA centers are overburdened and it can sometimes take months to get an appointment for the right kind of care. When lumped all together, what that means is the true numbers of returned veterans who suffer remains untold.
It shouldn’t surprise us to learn that so many of our soldiers came home with nighttime terrors, difficulty adjusting to family life again, and a dependence on drugs or alcohol — just think about what they saw over there. But what can we do about it? Let’s support vets and their families. Make donations to veterans’ organizations that work hard on the home front. Ask your politicians to make caring for veterans a priority. De-stigmatize getting psychological help. And honor our veterans by standing solemnly and reverently as the Veterans Day parade goes by, this November 11.■