Archive for June, 2012

9
Jun

As the New York Times reported today, the suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has “eclipsed the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago.” Yesterday, the Pentagon released numbers that reveal a service member is committing suicide every day.

Few people realize that the number of veterans of Viet Nam who have died from suicide exceeds the number of troops we lost to combat during that war. As of 2005, some 100,000 veterans had committed suicide, while 58,000 troops died in Vet Nam. Unlike even that awful war, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are claiming our troops through suicide even before the wars have ended.

While we could argue endlessly about the causes- such as repeat deployments, extreme conditions, losing friends to horrifying IED blasts- what is critical NOW is to take action, to intervene immediately with evaluations and counseling, with the full range of healing modalities to provide coping tools and community to our troops. We must wake up and recognize the crisis these suicides are signaling. Our troops are despairing. They feel hopeless and isolated, with no recourse. And their despair will become our own, our nation standing at the precipice of moral disintegration if we do not rescue those who have sacrificed their souls in our names.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
7
Jun

Broad shoulders and broader smiles, twinkling eyes, strong muscles yet gentle hands, wise, kind, and good. Steadfast and easy going. This is the iconic image we Americans hold of the GIs who left their small towns and tight knit city neighborhoods to travel across the Atlantic or Pacific to fight in the Second World War.

It has been thirteen years since the savage opening scene of Saving Private Ryan spilled men’s blood, anguish, horror and guts into our vision. 1998 was also the year Tom Brokaw published The Greatest Generation— and we quickly turned away from the reality Steven Spielberg exposed to adopt and carry forward the term “Greatest Generation,” fiercely clinging to our belief that the participants of the battles of D-Day, Guadacanal, Huertgen Forest, Iwo Jima, the Bulge, that the liberators of the Nazi concentration camps, that the POWs put the horrors behind them when they came home. The greatness of their purpose and the celebration of their country rescued them from their memories.

Carol Schultz Vento’s The Hidden Legacy of World War II pierces that myth to reveal not only the devastation that the war wrecked on the veterans’ spirits but the enormous toll it took on their families. Vento’s remarkable portrait, meticulously researched and substantiated, of the trauma the war created for its combatants will open a new chapter in our understanding not just of WWII but of the consequences of all wars. Because if even this good and just war that few would argue we should not have fought, exacted the price of all future repose and happiness, can any war be good and just? If no war has a victor, who benefits from waging war?

Vento has a special set of credentials for writing this book. Her father was Dutch Schultz, a WWII veteran who became legendary for his role as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, landing behind enemy lines o make the D-Day landings less deadly for the GIs landing on shore Popular culture selected Dutch as an exemplary hero, his deeds becoming the stuff of The Longest Day and Stephen Ambrose’s Citizen Soldiers. Yet like so many children of WWII veterans, at home, Carol experienced and observed a man anything but a hero. An alcoholic who could not summon the emotional energy a family and marriage require, Schultz left his wife and two daughters, his trauma making it impossible to be a good husband or father, to create for his family the sweet life Carol saw every other family living– at least in the television shows.

While The Hidden Legacy of World War II begins by presenting Vento’s own moving family history as the example of how her father’s broken spirit had drastic domestic repercussions, these specifics speak the truth of her generation of baby boomers. My father was also a veteran of World War II, an army surgeon who landed behind the troops at Utah Beach. I, too, had a broken family, a traumatized childhood, and only in the last ten years have I come to understand how our history connects back to my father’s war. We children of WWII vets have been the witnesses to our fathers’ and, in some cases, mothers’ invisible wounds. As children, we knew something was terribly wrong, and in our innocence and isolation, we thought it was ourselves. Only in the last several years has a zeitgeist emerged of baby boomers recognizing how our family’s tragedies, sorrows, and estrangement flowed from the war. How our fathers did what they hoped most not to do: bring the war home, into the bosom of their families.

The Hidden Legacy of World War II benefits from Vento’s having been educated as a lawyer and political scientist. Though the fulcrum of her book is her father’s and her own personal story– the heroic deeds, the haunting memories that followed and persisted, the domestic turbulence and stunted relationships– Vento supports her thesis of such a narrative arc being the norm rather than the exception with formidable and convincing research. She provides impressive data and many examples of other heroes whose lives disintegrated, of other children from broken families who have suffered depression, numbness, pervasive anxiety. One powerful fact she unearthed is that “almost half of medical discharges during World War II were for psychiatric reasons, the common diagnoses being psychoneurotic disorder and/or personality defects.” She goes on to describe how the Veterans Administration treated WWII veterans suffering “neuropsychiatric disturbances,” a chilling history. Yet for all the facts and data the book incorporates, its fluid writing and passionate voice makes the reading effortless.

Some may ask what point is there to rewriting the history of the effects of WWII on its combatants. “Let the men continue to bask in their glory while they can. Let us not diminish their deeds.”

In just the last ten years WWII veterans have been increasingly diagnosed with PTSD. I know men who are unable to sleep at night, so disturbed are they by their nightmares, intensified by old age and retirement. What we owe to them is the opportunity to heal that they have never had so they might know a good night’s sleep and the recognition that they need no longer bear the burden of being great.

And we owe it to those we have sent off to war in the last eight years to acknowledge that all combat veterans suffer, even WWII veterans. We must allow them to be human, to see that the wounds they carry are a testament to how very human they are.

As Vento writes at this powerful book’s conclusion,

“Children, like my sister Rosemary and I, who didn’t realize that their fathers’ war had had a major impact on their families, will never be counted as among the “collateral” damage of World War II, and the truth of what the Greatest Generation’s combat veterans brought back from war will never be adequately measured. There is no reverse time machine, no applying today’s knowledge to the past, but recognition that World War II families fought similar battles on the home front will eliminate the isolation disconnect of veterans’ children from their experience of the aftermath of the oft titled ‘good war.’ And it will hopefully stand as a cautionary tale to give military children of today’s wars attention and support when their fathers’ war comes home to stay.”

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
فروشگاه اینترنتی خرید ساعت مچی ساعت مچی مردانه ساعت مچی زنانه قهوه نسکافه