When Giving Up ‘Wounded Warrior’ Status Helps Vets Heal

From the Huffington Post

Wounded Warrior HospitalThe 52,300 Americans wounded during the Iraq and Afghan wars are almost all home now. And while some are fully recovered, others will bear physical and mental scars forever.

Each one has faced a difficult question: When does one stop being a wounded warrior?

When they come home, service members return to a country that prides itself on honoring all those who served, but particularly those who made sacrifices of mind or body. Across the country, charities and nonprofit organizations provide support systems and a range of services to the wounded, including handicap-equipped cars, service dogs, adaptive sports programs, internships and job training and even some free homes. The wounded often need this support: The residual effects of their injuries can include chronic pain, decreased mobility, problems with memory, speech and balance, and uncertain longterm health prospects.

Some had planned on a long military career, only to find their plans cut short as they face a medical discharge. Entering an often unfamiliar civilian world can be daunting, even for those without disabilities. Some have never held a civilian job, filled out a resume or applied to college. And on top of these new challenges, the comforting support structure of battle buddies and the military chain of command are gone.

Small wonder, then, that some veterans are reluctant to stop thinking of themselves as wounded warriors and leave behind the safe and familiar environment the label carries with it.

Read Full Article at Huffington Post

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