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VA says claims backlog continues to shrink / Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Learning to live again after war / PTSD in the US military: Vet Center offers free counseling / Public Can Honor Veterans With Engraved Pavers At New State Veterans / Veteran suicide: growing numbers, intensified outreach / PTSD hits soldier's family hard on the Cape
Recent research is bolstering the view that the symptoms, known collectively as gulf war illness, are fundamentally biological in nature. In the latest example, researchers at Georgetown University say they have found neurological damage in gulf war veterans reporting symptoms of the disease.
While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with Service members and veterans, affecting an estimated 20 percent of Service members after a deployment, eight percent of the U.S. population at large will be affected by PTSD in their lifetime. The observance of June as PTSD Awareness Month helps highlight this issue of national importance.
In 1986 when Shad Meshad finished his work with the Veterans Administration, I was sorry to hear the VA and the federal government were losing his services, a loss for the VA but a gain for veterans because Shad went on to found the National Veterans Foundation. Twenty-seven years later, the NVF still plays a critical role in providing information services to our veterans.
History seems to close up behind us as we move forward in our particular bubble of the present and immediate past. The Memorial Day celebrations I attended this year started me thinking about how few World War II veterans are still with us. Reading Senator Frank Lautenberg’s obituary a week after Memorial Day gave me a chance to see his long journey from serving in the Army Signal Corps during WWII to serving three terms as Senator before he retired. Except he didn’t really retire. He ran again and was re-elected. He was still serving at the time of his death.
I’ve always been drawn to the idea that even when you get to that point where you feel like you are completely filled with regret and heartbreak over things you can’t undo from the past . . . there is still a chance to reinvent yourself. It isn’t easy or straightforward, but the possibility is always there. I was not drawn to retelling their ferocious experiences of war, but rather to revealing the very human and moving ways in which they rediscover how to live in the aftermath of it.