Magazine article VFW Magazine

Remembering the Hospitalized Wounded

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Remembering the Hospitalized Wounded

Article excerpt

A week in February is devoted each year to veterans confined to hospital wards in VA medical centers. Let's not forget them-show your gratitude.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken a heavy toll on American bodies. Many of these wounded are not returned to duty, and face grueling months, if not years, of hospitalization.

National Hospitalized Veterans Week (Feb. 11-17) is an important yet often overlooked period of remembrance. It is a time to think about the warriors, past and present, who are patients at VA facilities, either temporarily or long-term. Take this opportunity, if at all possible, to personally visit them.

Though Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center receive the most publicity, please keep in mind that other military hospitals exist nationwide. Moreover, now that the wounded are being discharged as civilians, VA hospitals treat a number of younger veterans.

Besides them, older generations of veterans find themselves bedridden for a variety of ailments. Those with few or no family members especially enjoy visits and/or gifts. Of course, such attention is welcome all year long, not just in February.

Despite what they have suffered, the vast majority of the 22,000 wounded Afghanistan and Iraq vets remain proud of their service. Just witness the spirit they display. When asked, most quickly express a desire to return to their units. This camaraderie has a magnetic pull. Receiving a Purple Heart is not taken lightly. Many subscribe to the saying-"Turn an obstacle into an opportunity. …

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