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.
Imagine how Marines all over the country feel as they remember fighting for their lives and how they feel now, or try to imagine what it's like to come home and realize the memory of who you were is better than the reality of who you are.
These statistics don't tell the full story. For those recovering from a TBI, they face a long road toward recovery and rehabilitation. They have survived, but how will they relearn to thrive?
Because of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Caregiver Rule, Brett's employer kept his job open so Brett had the time to care for his brother. Now Brett's back at his job in Chicago, and Kyle is doing great. Like the brothers' situation illustrates, these support systems can have a significant impact on the day-to-day hardships caregivers face.
As a young adult cancer survivor, I personally believe we need to hear as many triumph stories as we can find. It helps to know others have made it through difficulty and succeeded in their goals. I recently had the privilege of interviewing female boxing champion, Terri Moss.
Since September 2011, more than 40,000 veterans have been hired through the Veteran Recruiting virtual career fairs, and more than 600 employers have participated.
Focused on honoring our veterans on Veterans Day, earlier this month, we may not even have noticed the unsung heroes and heroines standing directly behind so many of them, just out of view -- the caregiver partners of the severely injured.
In many respects, veterans are currently invisible to the American public. Even if you believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should never have started, that does not mean that you should ignore the humanity of soldiers.
At 73, Ann Jones strapped on body armor and headed to war so you didn't have to. She watched the sort of "meatball surgery" that would have left you doubled over and retching.
In 2010, I began to follow U.S. soldiers down a long trail of waste and sorrow that led from the battle spaces of Afghanistan to the emergency room of the trauma hospital at Bagram Air Base to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Just cutting the defense budget and rebalancing to the Reserves will go only so far to make us stronger, more secure, and most of all freer. Institutionalizing national service and sacrifice will help restore enduring national strengths.
Many men and women are suffering from severe psychiatric diagnoses that are a result of their service. Yet, to only see this as psychopathology is to overlook the depth of character and clarity of values that can emerge from life altering experiences.
When, in 1976 at age 32, I first became an editor at a mainstream publishing house, I had just one urge: I wanted to bring new voices, as young as I was, into the world; I wanted, as I used to say at the time, to publish "voices from elsewhere."
As I followed the sad trail of damaged veterans to write my new book, I came to see how much they and their families have suffered, like Afghans, from the delusions of this nation's leaders, more powerful and less accountable than themselves.
In this age of reckless and ballooning entitlement spending, it is equal parts puzzling and dismaying that we as a nation have put so little emphasis on caring for the needs of the bravest and most patriotic among us.