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
29
May

Today President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to the late Jan Karski who fought the Nazi as a member of the Polish Underground. At great risk to himself, he was smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto to document the conditions and then witnessed Jews being herded into boxcars.

Dr. George Tievsky, one of the veterans profiled in my book, Gated Grief, told me about meeting Karski, who taught at Georgetown University after WWII.

He told Dr. Tievsky about carrying first to London and then to FDR photographs, the first incontrovertible evidence of the Nazis’ genocide of Europe’s Jews. “He told me he went to London to tell Anthony Eden about the extermination plan. He said Eden got up, went over to the window, lifted the curtain slightly (there was a black out), turned around and said, ‘Mr. Karski, has it ever occurred to you that when Jews come they bring their anti-Semitism with them?’

“When Karski came to America to tell Felix Frankfurter and Brandeis about the camps, they first told him he was lying, then apologized and said they couldn’t believe what he was saying. FDR told him the U.S. would win the war and reconstitute Europe and help rebuild Poland, but his final words to Karski were, ‘I’m not going to worry about the Jews; this can’t be a war for the Jews.’ ”

Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter told Karski, “I am unable to believe you.”

Years later, he said that governments abandoned Jews, and that while thousands of individual Europeans helped save Jews, “no one did enough.”

Meeting Jan Karski lifted the spirits of Dr. Tievsky. May he continue to inspire us all to “act with courage when conditions are at their worst and to become messengers for truth. He calls each of us to act on behalf of oppressed peoples everywhere.”

Category : Uncategorized
26
May

As you will see in the video of the movie, “Let There Be Light,” some psychologists and psychiatrists back in 1946 had some pretty good ideas about what veterans suffering combat trauma needed to heal. But the military decided the treatment was too expensive and so terminated the program and censored the movie that documented it.

If we are willing to put our country into debt to wage war, we owe it to our veterans and their families to find the money to heal them.

Category : Uncategorized
2
Mar

On February 12, the Roanoke Times reported the arrest of Sean Duvall for carrying a firearm — a crude gun he had made himself from steel pipe, a shotgun shell and a nail. The reason the Blacksburg, Virginia police became aware that Mr. Duvall was carrying a gun was because he had called the toll-free crisis hotline for veterans contemplating suicide. A veteran of the Navy, Duvall was homeless and increasingly despairing. He had dialed the hotline for help.

He did receive help. The counselor who answered his call called in the local police who took Duvall to a psychiatric hospital. After several days he was transferred to the care of New River Valley Community Services. Counseling and medication improved his mental state, and afterwards, he even found a new job.

But then he was arrested and charged in federal court with possession of a destructive device and three related felonies. He is facing a possible prison term of 40 years. His lawyer argues that the response of the criminal justice system in rural Virginia is “dishonorable,” not to mention “unfair.” “It shocks the conscience.” The federal prosecutor’s response: “Confidentiality is not absolute.”

Duvall served two tours as a member of the Navy — one tour during and one after the Gulf War. He was honorably discharged. Last spring of last year, he maxed out on the number of hours his part-time job allowed, and soon, he became homeless. Like so many of our close to 70,000 homeless veterans, his pride prevented him from applying for benefits or going to a shelter. In June, he made a gun out of a steel pipe and nail to kill himself.

The Roanoke Times lays out the details of the now public conversation Duvall had with the crisis hotline counselor, a conversation he expected to be confidential. He told the counselor — a person in upper New York state — that he had lost everything, that he had been walking the streets for days, that he intended to commit suicide, that he was ready to give up. He described the crude gun.

“The counselor promised to send help and asked Duvall for his location. Looking around, Duvall spotted a blue light from a Virginia Tech police phone in the parking lot of the school’s international student center on Clay Street. He waited there for a police officer to arrive.” The federal prosecutor has argued that because Duvall agreed to wait for the police, he gave up any expectation of privacy for what he told the counselor.

Mr. Duvall’s lawyer asserts that the federal government has broken a fundamental promise to a veteran. “It is wrong to tell a man that what he says will be kept in confidence and then use statements and evidence given in reliance of that promise to charge the man.” While counselors for the hotline are trained to rely on options other than the police, federal law stipulates that in cases of “serious and imminent threats to the safety of the veteran or others,” the hotline can disclose information. The prosecutor argued that the implications of Duvall’s argument are that police could not file charges if they responded to a veteran’s plea for help and found he had killed his wife and children.

This case raises critical issues for our veterans and our responsibility to them. The most glaring is the impact this case might have on other veterans in despair. The crisis hotline has, according to Veterans for Common Sense received over 240,000 calls since it was created in 2007. It has saved the lives of 19,823 veterans. The suicide rate among our veterans has been skyrocketing in the last few years, now reaching 18 a day. It takes tremendous trust on the part of a veteran to call the crisis hotline. The veteran must believe that the person answering the call has the veteran’s best interest at heart and has training and expertise to handle their crisis in a way that will protect the veteran from harm.

It will be difficult for many veterans to look past the impression of this situation to the specifics. We all need to be concerned that this case will have a terrible effect of dissuading veterans in need to call the hotline. We face the possibility that more veterans might end up taking their lives.

When we look at the case’s specifics, many questions present themselves. Was the counselor calling the police rather than an ambulance or the fire department the best way to get Duvall to a psychiatric hospital? Once Duvall readily agreed to wait for the police, did that indicate anything significant to the counselor about how dangerous Duvall might be?

What did the counselor know about the gun Duvall described? Such a gun cannot be used to easily kill someone. What did the person answering Duvall’s call know about Blacksburg, Virginia and the police there? Did they remember that Blacksburg is the location of Virginia Tech where a gunman killed 32 people in 2007? Did the counselor anticipate that the police there might have a severe reaction to a man on the street with a gun, no matter what type of gun it was?

Duvall’s horrible predicament underscores the necessity of training our police force, our counselors, our first aid workers to the unique characteristics and needs of our veterans. Rather than seeing them as intending to perpetrate violent acts, we must understand that what might look like criminal behavior are manifestations of trauma and cries for help.

What good, what justice will be served by locking Mr. Duvall in prison? What he needs is treatment. Over the last five years many states have recognized the injustice of prosecuting veterans for behavior that results from trauma they suffered serving their country. These states have created veterans courts, a specialty court that, rather than taking the traditional adversarial approach of convicting and incarcerating veterans when their criminal actions resulted from PTSD, creates a rigorous program of rehabilitation and training, enabling them to lead a productive life.

As of 2004, the last time the U.S. Department of Justice reported, an estimated 140,000 veterans were held in state and federal prisons. State prisons held 127,500 of these veterans; federal prisons held 12,500. According to the Texas Criminal Justice Department, as of October, 2011, Texas — the state most notorious for incarceration– had 11,567 incarcerated veterans. According to Brian McGivern of the Texas Civil Rights Project, many of these prisoners are veterans of Vietnam, who have been imprisoned for over 20 years. There are indications some have never received mental health care. Such care is not easily available in the prison system..

The good news is that the number of incarcerated veterans seems to be dropping. In 1986 the percentage of federal prisoners reporting military service was 24.9 percent. In 1997 it was 14.5 percent. In 2004 it was 10 percent. But considering only one percent of the country serves in our military, it is disgraceful that even 10 percent are veterans.

While the emergence of veterans courts is an invaluable reform, no state mandates them. It is up to the individual county whether to create a veterans court. This creates a terrible roll of the dice for the veteran. Here in Texas, a veteran can languish in prison in one county where in another the court would be connecting her or him to critical services from the Veterans Administration and facilitating her or his healing. If Mr. Duvall had walked out onto a street in Houston with his gun rather than Blacksburg, Va, he would not be in prison today.

The fact that it is the federal government prosecuting him makes his situation all the more horrifying, as the federal government can create a policy of rehabilitating our veterans rather than destroying them. It is time for a federal veterans court. Time to model for the states how we treat our veterans.

Update: On February 27th, the federal court decided to allowing Mr. Duvall to enter a treatment program. If he successfully completes it, the court will drop the charges against him. This is exactly how a veterans court operates.

Category : Uncategorized
14
Jan

While many have opted to lose weight or to quit smoking for their New Year’s resolutions, both of which are admirable, a few others have chosen to volunteer more of their time in 2012. A few more have even specified how they want to spend their volunteer time and have chosen to do so supporting military members and their families.

However, trying to find volunteer locations that support troops isn’t always easy. So if you have decided to support the troops more in the New Year, look to some of the following to find positive volunteering experiences:

Contact Your Local VFW
One of the best places to find the services and help needed by veterans and their families is by visiting the local VFW. Through VFWs you should be able to find out where the next care package day is being sponsored or which veterans throughout your area are in need. You can even just drop in to hang out with your local veterans, and challenge them to a board or card game or listen to their stories. All forms of support are appreciated, and nothing says thank you more than simply spending time with someone.

Visit Your Local VA Hospital
If you are lucky enough to have a VA medical facility located within your area, you can find a number of excellent volunteer options. Local Vas are a hotpot for organizations that support the troops and you can usually find listings posted all over community bulletin boards throughout these facilities. So whether you want to work with older vets, visit those who are far from family, or make quilts, cards, or gift baskets for our wounded warriors, the VA offers plenty of opportunities. All you have to do is show up and be on the lookout for other volunteers – or simply ask an attendant at the front desk.

Get Online
If you don’t have a VA facility located nearby, or simply can’t coordinate volunteer times, that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon you desire to support the troops. There are several ways that you can offer your services and support online.

Organizations like SoldiersAngels.org, Wounded Warrior Project, and Enhance Lives offer ways in which you can support serving and wounded soldiers as well as their families, whether it be through a monetary donation, sponsoring care packages to send overseas, or putting together cards and quilts for the wounded.

If none of these options seem to be working for you, you can always organize your own way to help the troops. Creating care package ship days or getting local classrooms to create Thank You cards are fun and easy ways to show your support for the troops, and generally your local post office will be willing to help you in your endeavor.

Our troops have fought hard to preserve our honor and freedom, and by offering your time to them, you are not only making their time of service a bit easier, but you are also showing your respect and gratitude in deepest form. So if you are looking for a great way to spend a few of your extra hours after work or on the weekend, don’t be afraid to look to some of your local volunteer opportunities to support the troops.

Maya Szydlowski is a community manager for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s top dedicated VA lender.

Category : Uncategorized
3
Jan

The Red Sox Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Home Base Program in partnership with The Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project have published an invaluable resource to help military parents and health care providers protect the health of their children: A Toolkit for the Well Child Screening of Military Children.

It is divided into different sections for the primary care clinician, the parents, and the children. It gives the doctor screening tools and a overview of effects of a parent’s deployment. It provides parents with strategies for dealing with upcoming and current deployments, homecoming, and death. And the section addressed to children normalizes the range of possible emotions and responses to the parent’s absence.

My only criticism is that the toolkit does not address what can happen after the parent returns. The child’s mental health is just as at risk after the parent’s homecoming as during deployment. The veteran parent very well may experience PTSD that children easily absorb and perceive that they have somehow caused their parent’s anger and/or depression. It is urgent we consider the effect a veteran parent’s PTSD can have on their children.

Category : Uncategorized
12
Dec

Last week, I needed a good book to read- to relax in the evening. Rather than buying a new one or going to the library, I decided to look through the hundreds of books on my shelves. Many of them have been in my life for over thirty-five years. I keep them because as they enriched my life once, I knew they could do that again, that to revisit them would open up a different encounter, one that might reveal my own evolution as much as the book’s richness. I forgot that to reread a treasured book is to meet it anew, to see the place for the first time. As in T. S. Eliot’s well known poem, “Little Giddings:” “the end of all our exploring/ 
Will be to arrive where we started
/And know the place for the first time.”

I don’t know why my eyes fell upon Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. An English major in college, I wrote my senior thesis on Woolf’s works, focusing on her mystical philosophy. But as I reread Mrs. Dalloway, I discovered a theme I never came close to recognizing thirty-six years ago: the cost of war to a society.

Published in 1925, seven years after the end of World War I, on its surface Mrs. Dalloway, is about a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, an upper class London woman who is giving a party that evening. Rather than depicting the external world of behavior and appearances, Woolf weaves characters’ thoughts and responses to external objects in an impressionistic portrait of how the human mind processes experience. Central to this particular book is how encounters with other people shape us, an aspect of it I did not remember as I picked it out of my collection.

Brief, broken, often painful as their actual meetings had been what with his absences and interruptions the effect of them on his life was immeasurable. There was a mystery about it… in the most unlikely places it would flower out, open, shed its scent, let you touch, taste, look upon you, get the whole feel of it and understanding after years of lying lost.”

This particular passage expresses the musings of a former lover of Clarissa about their relationship, and while that relationship is important to her, it ends up not being the one at the heart of the book. The relationship that becomes definitive for her is with Septimus Smith whom she only meets at the end of the novel, their “meeting” occurring only through her hearing about his death, a suicide.

Septimus Smith is a veteran of “the War” and suffers from what we have called since the 1980’s PTSD. He lives in a constant state of terror, expecting “horror to surface and explode.” “He had fought; he was brave; he was not Septimus now.” His most acute symptom is an utter lack of ability to feel, to taste. He sees ghosts of the dead, especially a beloved commander, who was killed in front of Septimus. Yet the doctor, whom the book increasingly casts in a negative light as supercilious, arrogant, and destructive, says that nothing is wrong with the veteran and that he just needs to throw himself into an interest.

The gulf between his experience and his wife’s understanding of it becomes a chasm. “It was she who suffered,” she thinks, feeling completely helpless and alone. She fears he will try to kill himself. (The various characters think the words “fear no more,” the phrase like the chorus of a Greek tragedy.)

Septimus does kill himself, though without forethought or intention. As the hated doctor enters his home, Septimus is certain he is about to lose control of his life and flings himself out a window. It is when a group of politicians mentions his death that evening at Clarissa’s party that she “meets” him. The group includes the much reviled doctor who had treated Septimus, a man that neither Clarissa nor her husband ever liked. He is holding forth to Clarissa’s guests that “there must be a provision in the Bill” about shell shock. He tells the details of Septimus’s death.

“Oh, thought Clarissa, in the middle of my party, here’s death.” As she moves out of a selfish, self-centered response, “her body went through it.” She experiences empathy and the other stages of grief. The shock, the questioning, understanding. “A thing there was that mattered. This he had preserved. Death was defiance. Death was communication; people feeling the impossibility of reaching the centre which, mystically evaded them. Closeness drew apart. One was alone. There was an embrace in death.” Somehow his death was “her disaster.” She did not pity him. She “felt glad he had done it; thrown it away…. He made her feel the beauty, feel the fun.”

What to make of Clarissa’s response? At first read, it seems extremely childish, narcissistic. His suicide made her more aware of the good things in her life? But if we consider that Septimus fell on a railing that impaled him, might Woolf be casting him as a Christ figure who sacrificed himself to redeem the world of its sin- the sin of the War that casts its shadow over the book from the very beginning? Five pages in we read “It is June. The War was over except for someone like Mrs. Foxcroft at the Embassy last night eating her heart out because that nice boy was killed… .”

After she thinks that Septimus’s death made her “feel the fun,” she next thinks she must go “assemble.” To assemble is to bring together. What Septimus wanted, what he could not stop thinking about in his last day was the utter importance of universal love. Such love is only possible when we connect, when we see what we cherish and long for are the same.
Woolf constructed Mrs. Dalloway so that the characters orbit one another, one passing another one by in the park, one having seen another in the doctor’s waiting room, each ignorant of the other’s struggles and relevance to their own life. Rather than meeting, they are separated by six degrees. Woolf tells us that our salvation lies in connection, in meeting. (And how amazing it is that Woolf captures the characteristics and essence of PTSD so well.)

What makes my re-encounter with Mrs. Dalloway significant for me is that in the last ten years I have learned that my father suffered PTSD from WWII and that his invisible wounds shaped our family history. Not only did I not see back in college Woolf’s subject of combat trauma (nor did any of the criticism I read at that time) but I had no idea that subject was relevant to my own life. Woolf is a greater teacher than I ever imagined her. (It is amazing how well Woolf understands and portrays combat trauma). She speaks what we have yet to learn: that our salvation lies in our connecting, in our finding our way to universal love.

Category : Uncategorized
مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی پاراگلایدر زیورآلات آگهی استخدام آگهی رایگان تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ