Magazine article VFW Magazine

Wounded of War Demand Respect

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Wounded of War Demand Respect

Article excerpt

For the 3,000 wounded Americans fro m Iraq and Afghanistan, their war is entering a new phase. We must be there to help them.

For the wounded, a war never ends. It just enters a new phase, one often more painful and cerinly longer-lasting than the first. The scars-both physical and psychological-are daily reminders of combat. While the public soon forgets, the veteran never does.

Recently, the news media has rightfully focused much attention on patients in Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Their recovery process has been the subject of numerous articles and TV broadcasts. This is all most welcome, but the media infatuation will soon fade as it does after every war. Who will fill the void?

Fellow veterans will then step in; and who better than VFW members. Perhaps the central part of recuperation is validating the sacrifices made on the battlefield. If one believes his limb was lost in pursuit of a worthy cause, the emotional trauma of learning to start life over is eased considerably. And make no mistake about it-coping with a severe wound requires starting anew in many ways.

VFW's intervention can begin immediately. When feasible, hospital visits are a good first step. Granted, relatively few of us can gain access to Walter Reed, but VA hospitals are another matter altogether. Once patients are discharged they will naturally return home and still require the services of the nearest VA medical center. By then out of the limelight, wounded vets will appreciate the cheering up even more. …

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