By Patricia L Johnson
United States Code defines a Veteran as follows:
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 38 – VETERANS’ BENEFITS
PART I – GENERAL PROVISIONS
CHAPTER 1 – GENERAL
Sec. 101 – Definitions
From the U.S. Government Printing Office
(2) The term “veteran” means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.
Veterans are the young men and women that put their lives on hold for several years in order to serve our country in any capacity necessary which makes them “Our Heroes”. They are there to serve us morning, noon and night, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The American Community Survey 2010-2012 indicates that the number of military veterans living in 2012 is 21.2 million [1.6 million women]. Approximately 15.6 million of these vets served during a period of war.
933,315 served during both Gulf War eras.
307,376 served during both Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001) and Vietnam era.
209,183 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
113,269 served during both World War II and the Korean
These men and women have served our country under conditions the majority of us can’t even begin to imagine, yet endure without complaint. They go, they serve, they come home and they try to live a ‘normal’ life; but how do you live a ‘normal’ life when everything in your life has changed?
We’ve come a long way from the days of Vietnam and the majority of us not only recognize the word PTSD, we also have a general understanding of the symptomology associated with the disease. As of December 7, 2012 there have been 27,549 veterans diagnosed with PTSD that were not deployed and 103,792 diagnosed with this debilitating illness that were deployed. These figures represent diagnoses for those veterans that served during the period from 2000 – 2012.
As of August 20, 2012, 253,300 veterans have been diagnosed with TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury.
CDC indicates TBI is caused by “a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain”, with a severity range of mild, to severe.
Of the 253,000 veterans diagnosed with TBI, there were 6,476 veterans diagnosed with severe or penetrating TBI, with another 42,083 diagnosed with moderate TBI and 194,561 cases classified as mild. Again, these are diagnoses received for veterans serving between the periods from 2000 – 2012.
TBI can impact a person’s thinking, sensation, language and emotions. It can also cause epilepsy.
Amputations have also been prevalent during the Gulf Wars. The total number of battle-injury amputations for OIF/OND and OEF as of December 3, 2012 is 1,715 split as follows:
OIF/OND Major Limb e.g. Leg 797
OIF/OND Minor Limb e.g. Partial Foot, Fingers 194
OEF Major Limb e.g. Leg 696
OEF Minor Limb e.g. Partial Foot, Fingers 28
TOTAL —————————————- 1,715
The Gulf wars have also had a higher incidence of suicide. Data as of January 9, 2013 indicates a total of 332 service members have died of self-inflicted wounds while serving (this covers the years 2000-2012).
235 of the deaths occurred during OIF and OND, while 97 occurred during OEF.
The men and women who served our country have been subjected to memories that would keep most of up at night. When they come home from their various tours of duties they have to try to attack a different lifestyle, in a state of mind that can be considered fragile.
When they are in a war zone they do what they have to do in order to survive, when they are discharged they are ecstatic that they are coming home to friends and families, but sooner or later the memories come back and the “what if” questions begin.
If they are mentally strong and receive the proper support they will survive, if not, they will teeter and fall and it is up to all of us to be there to catch them when they fall.
All of us need to make our Veterans feel as if we appreciate each and every bullet they took for us, each and every day they spent in ‘hell’, and each and every day they put their lives on the line for our freedoms.
We’re the only ones that can provide them with the support they need. You don’t have to wait till Veterans Day to say THANK YOU to those that served, you can start today!
Thank you and God bless all of the men and women that have served our country, both from the U.S. and from other countries throughout the world.
© 2013 Patricia L Johnson