Happy Veterans’ Day. It makes me SICK. Here’s how AMERICA celebrates our vets: Here’s a discount on CRAPPY JUNK FOOD. Here’s a SALE so you can buy crap you can’t afford. Here’s a parade so all the important people in town can make themselves look good. HOW ABOUT GETTING OUR VETERANS WHAT THEY NEED? HOW about if the US government & the US military starts showing our veterans some REAL RESPECT & some REAL THANKS for their service?
A year ago ( Nov 14, 2013) CNN reported: ‘Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher… Experts have no doubt that people are being missed in the national counting of veteran suicides… & the Department of Veterans Affairs only reported data from 21 states–with 2 of the largest states California & Texas–among the states whose statistical data was missing from this ‘study’ which looked ONLY at 77% of the recorded suicides in 40% of the U.S. population.’
From what I hear from people working with veterans–it’s more like 55 attempts a DAY–& there’s that ‘77% of only 40% of the population…’ How many US veterans are REALLY so broken they’re trying to kill themselves each & every day?
And why do you think they’re turning to SUICIDE as the answer?
A survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America showed that 30% of service members have considered taking their own life. 45% said they know an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide. “There’s probably a tidal wave of suicides coming,” says Brian Kinsella, an Iraq war veteran who started Stop Soldier Suicide, a nonprofit group that works to raise awareness of suicide.
Post-traumatic stress & traumatic brain injuries are the ‘signature injuries’ of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes–I take it personally–because I KNOW the HELL of BRAIN INJURIES. I also know YOU CAN BEAT BRAIN INJURIES–but not the way that most VA’s are treating them!
We CAN do better for our vets. We CAN do better for all the many people suffering the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, & physical problems & the neurological damages caused by war & the toxic world we live in. But those who are profiting off the suffering of others will not give up their profits easily. There ARE cost-effective ways that do work. But they just don’t fit the profit-hungry Pharmaceutical Model of Medicine that our system sanctions & our tax dollars buy.
I’m a PEACENIK & PROUD of it! I’ve worked & marched for PEACE. As a kid I worked & marched alongside of Viet Nam Veterans Against the War. I hear stories about how hippies & other Peaceniks dissed our Viet Nam Vets. They got MORE dissed & are still getting dissed–those who are still alive–since so many DIED from Agent Orange Cancer, other war-related illnesses, & lack of appropriate care & support–by the very government they fought for & the Veterans Administration–both more concerned about photo op’s & “how things LOOK” than getting our vets what they need! As a grown woman & a brain injury surviver myself–even when I was blind & still pretty sick & struggling myself–I was doing all I could–using talking computers & sharing the treatments that were WORKING for me.
Brain-injured vets have contacted me for years–seeking a different way than the “bagful of drugs”—err—“medications”-they tell me is the “treatment” they get from the VA. No counseling from people who really understand. No real rehabilitation. They tell me the wards are crowded & noisy. No wonder some “choose” to live in the streets. No wonder some, in desperation, take their own lives. As a brain-injured person who had a lot of training & expertise in Alternative & Body-Mind Medicine, with more than 2 decades in the field of Peak Performance when I became so brain-injured THEY said I’d never get better again–I knew I needed quiet & low environmental input–especially when my brain was trying to HEAL ITSELF–which the human body is made to do. That is–when it’s not “medicated” into complacency & it’s processes are interrupted by “Science.”
WHY isn’t the VA & the US govt doing more for our veterans? Brain injuries became the “signature wounds” of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars just a year or two in. Yet it took a retired Navy physician, a rock singer, & the private sector—soldiers’ families & people like me—publicizing & donating money to provide our service people with helmets more like those used by football players—for YEARS before the military woke up about helmets that could better protect against IED’s & Operation Helmet is STILL providing these better helmets! In my old e-zine–I was only one of many private citizens who helped advocate getting SOLDIERS at WAR better protection than the MILITARY & the US GOVERNMENT thought necessary.
I’m just one woman & a brain-injury survivor myself, still battling an inefficient & corrupt system & dealing with almost more than I can handle. I’m handing it because I have to. I’m disgusted with the lies & subterfuge of people in the VA, in the Social Security Administration, in the hallowed halls of the US governments–federal & local–who give lip-service & wear flags & say “Thank you for your service” while continuing to draw their own salaries & benefits for denying those they are supposed to be serving their benefits.
I KNOW people care. Please… CARE ENOUGH to rise up & demand REAL, EFFECTIVE treatments become available, accessible, PAID for & provided by our Health-Care systems. We’ll save money–& we’ll save LIVES. DON’T just SAY ‘thank you for your service’ but help support & fight for veterans having a hard time!
The military chews up our soldiers & throws them away. You want an example? Spc. Brent Grommet, an Afghanistan veteran, went through proper procedure to ADOPT his military working dog– as both Army regulations & Federal law allow. He & his dog went through basic training together, they got deployed together & they were injured together by a roadside IED. They came home on the same transport together. This 23 year old now deals with traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, spinal-cord injury, daily pain, migraines, chronic breathing problems & PTSD & he did everything right to get his dog released to be adopted by HIM! Instead of being returned to him–his dog was kidnapped by a military man of higher rank–who’s apparently now in the Pentagon–so I guess he thinks he’s ‘untouchable.’ Read the story Soldier’s hero dog ‘stolen’ by military Nov 9 NYPOST
Sickening. Not only did this wounded warrior did NOT get a ‘thanks”– he was threated by officers to NOT speak to media about the fight to get his dog & fighting buddy back–or he’d ‘be sent to prison at Leavenworth… not a threat… (they said) it’s [military] law.” YOU CAN HELP this VET get his DOG BACK! This is a NEW petition with MANY SIGNATURES NEEDED BY DEC 09, 2014 TO REACH GOAL OF 100,000! When I signed it today there were only 173 signatures. PLEASE SIGN IT & SHARE IT!
You can also make TAX-DEDUCTIBLE contributions to groups like The Wounded Warrior Project who spend over ½ (57.9%) what they take in for on programs & services they deliver to VETS, & with just over ⅓ (36.3%) going to their fundraising efforts. Charity Navigator rates their Transparency pretty high: a score of 96 (out of 100.) At least that part of your tax dollars won’t be wasted.
Yes–the concept of Veterans Day makes me sick because of the hypocrisy of marketers & politicians who ignore the real needs of our veterans & use this one day as an advertising extravaganza when we have now lost more of our veterans to suicide than we have on the front. Yet more money gets put into these interminable ‘studies’ that could go to actually providing meaningful & PROVEN TREATMENTS that could help people HEAL & the considerable advertising dollars by businesses could instead be channelled into projects like The Wounded Warrior Project to REALLY say “Thank you for your service.”
What’s it going to take to get Americans to say “ENOUGH?”
Thanks for your comments–I DO appreciate your comments… on this blog post & my previous ones. I love passion but thanks for keeping it clean. This site is really a work-in-progress & as I, the woman who’s supposed to be “permanently blind, permanently brain-damaged, & permanently disabled”–good for nothing but a residency in a board & care on tax-dollar provided DRUGS–err–“medications” am developing it my SELF–it’s taking me a bit of time to master all the media… I just added an “About” & a Privacy page–with photos & video–CHECK THEM OUT! Let me know what you think & I’ll be back atcha real soon!
Best & BE WELL, LOVE… Zeeva