Through his portraits of wounded soldiers, their loved ones and their caretakers, and through his portrayals of the dangerous conditions in which they serve and the trying world to which they return, David Wood has crafted an immensely valuable mosaic of a vital segment of American life.
Starting today, The Huffington Post begins a ten-part series, Beyond the Battlefield -- an exploration of the physical and emotional challenges, victories and setbacks that catastrophically wounded soldiers encounter after returning home.
Many of us who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have survived injuries that would have killed us in previous wars, and while that is of course a cause for celebration, it also demands incredible sacrifices by our caregivers.
This is a story from one of the hardest days of my life. One afternoon I rang the doorbell of a veteran named Ron. No one answered. I proceeded to go back to my car to write him a note. Then something horrific occurred.
These rating schemes tell the public that if you spend more on fundraising, you are bad. They equate fundraising and overhead to fraud and judge the business decisions charities make in order to best fulfill their missions, serve their constituents, and sustain their organizations for the long-term.
Even though I sat at their same table, I just couldn't give up on them. Those kids needed someone, and I refused to allow myself to be discouraged. I refused to allow my advocacy to waiver. I refused to stop and lick my wounds. I tried my damnedest to give a voice to those voiceless children. I kept fighting, kept moving, and was never out of the fight -- just as the Army trained me.
I understand that as we draw down from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are beginning the process of putting those wars behind us. In our closure, however, we cannot close the door on our veterans -- as we have done so many times before.
This picture appeared in the newspaper where I worked on June 5, 1994, a day shy of the 50th anniversary of D-Day. I was stunned. The man on the far right was my father, and I recognized him immediately. I fell into a chair in a heap. He'd died seven years previously, and I missed him. And on that moment, I missed that he'd never told me the story of that day.
There is a deep and urgent need for Americans to understand that the current problems within certain VA facilities are not rampant and system-wide. And I would bet my life that the nurses and staff at the centers being investigated carry out their duties with the same compassion and caring that my father-in-law is receiving at this very moment.
Acceptance is not the same as compliance. It's about experiencing the emotions and trusting that you will bounce back. Ultimately, emotional resilience is about attitude. By focusing on the positive they live more in the solution than the problem. Gratitude does go a long way.
Earlier this year, the GOP had a chance to prove that it could fund veterans' health care as eagerly as it borrowed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"He does not exist!" the man insisted. I figured that the guy was a government worker and doing the best that he could. So, I drove to my parent's condominium and picked up the handsome photo that my mother kept near her bedside.
Hey, we're launching the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 to raise money for good causes.
So how can we as communities do more than just celebrate, and really help and embrace our veterans so the transition from military life to civilian life is not as painful?
WWP is committed to caring for these wounded warriors because we don't want them to simply survive -- we want to see them thrive. The goal should be to empower these veterans to live as independently as possible.