Our veterans deserve much, much better. And of course, as far as I'm concerned, a lot more parades.
As Nate, 29, walked through the kennels, Otis was the only dog not barking excitedly -- he was just leaning his face against the fence and hoping for some love. Nate took the American Bulldog for a walk in the parking lot, the pup instinctively trotted straight to his car, and it was love.
I support our troops to the core -- as human brothers and sisters of mine (and as a member of a military family). Would you want to send your family members to war? Do you even know what that means? Have you really thought about it?
Once again, I have to turn toward this war-like part of myself with curiosity and compassion so that I can train her, and train her well. I thought I had done most of that work, but opportunities for training and fine tuning my warrior self are on-going.
If we want to help veterans transition successfully -- to become as productive in civilian life as they were overseas -- then we need to change how we talk about mental injuries sustained in combat.
I hope that one day a veteran can walk into any VA hospital or health care facility and be given options for any affliction that they're facing without being put on a waiting list. The government needs to help veterans get access to health care that they deserve.
While Sarah Palin may consider herself a patriot, all we need are more Americans publicly espousing waterboarding, and other unacceptable terror methods, to push even more potential enemies into believing that indeed the West is serving, or is itself, the Great Satan.
Expressing their concerns were several women veterans who sat on their chairs with determined faces, strong voices, but with tentative dispositions that revealed difficult experiences that they probably have not shared with anyone.
A fact that is often overlooked these days, is that our wars are fought not only with soldiers, but with a great number of civilian workers going out alongside of them.
The rates of suicide, unemployment, and homeless for veterans continue to rise. I believe this has a lot to do with the civilian-military divide, compounded by the media sensationalizing PTSD.
It is extremely challenging to get service members (and others) to get treatment for the symptoms of PTSD with the negative connotations people already heap atop mental illness, let alone with the insinuation that these people are somehow killers in waiting.
The moment we admit we toke up, there are a whole slew of assumptions and images based on stereotypes. If we call ourselves potheads, then the term loses power and legitimacy.
Ivan Lopez's killings at Fort Hood, while on a scale not often matched, are one more marker on a bloody trail of death that leads from Iraq and Afghanistan into the American heartland, to bases and backyards nationwide.
In the days after the marathon bombing, I witnessed so many Bostonians experiencing a mental state I'd had as my normal baseline for years: intrusive memories, intense shock, fear, anger, sadness.
Recent episodes of random violence at U.S. Army bases, the latest at Fort Hood in Texas, have underscored one of the little-recognized and heartrending consequences of our reliance on a volunteer military to defend our country.
It was my job in the USMC to fight the enemy and in doing so resulted in experiences and memories that I will have until the end of my days. I have tried for too long to make sense of it all and have come to realize at the end of the day war is unjustifiable no matter what side you are on.