“We were not allowed to speak of the unseen wounds of war. We were not allowed to prepare for them.”
That quote is from Army Psychologist Brig. General Loree Sutton from the documentary Thank You For Your Service (not to be confused with the Miles Teller film), which Art With Impact wrote about back in February. The heartbreaking, infuriating documentary extensively covers how we have failed our veterans, through the voices of experts and people who have been battling PTSD for years. Unfortunately, there is still an immense amount of stigma around discussing PTSD, but the message of the film is clear: It’s up to all of us to dismantle the silence that continues to devastate our armed forces.
The notion that we have even one single veteran living on the streets should be just considered a travesty to all of us.
For the record, I’m a Second World War veteran and served in the Pacific.
It’s not a straight line to do anything breaking the law. Because if it is, basically you’re saying if I cop to having PTSD, I can go out and slap somebody around all I want, and when the cops show up, I can claim I am a veteran, and I got PTSD – that’s not how that works.
When an American veteran comes to VA, it is not up to him to employ a team of lawyers to get VA to say yes. It is up to VA to get the veteran to yes, and that is customer service.
On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.
I was counsel on the full veterans committee, the first Vietnam veteran to serve as a full-committee counsel in Congress. It stunned me that there was a 600,000-case backlog of claims. During my time in the Senate, it became 900,000.
America is a grateful nation. We cannot allow anything or anyone to get in the way of that. The words ‘veteran’ and ‘backlog’ should never appear in the same sentence.