My own symptoms of post traumatic stress had faded within six months or so of coming home, and I was relieved. Then came my delayed reaction to a 10-year passage of time from the day I drove over the berm into Iraq as a soldier, sparked by that photo, and it all washed away.
Many of those who served in Iraq have moved on and started their lives anew. I am among that cohort. Despite my new beginning, I'm left with memories of that war. Those memories remind me of how lucky I am to live in America.
It may not be possible to totally end veterans homelessness by 2015. However, our collective awareness of this national disgrace, along with what hopefully are earnest administration efforts, should take our country a long way towards ending this "cultural oxymoron."
This Veterans Day is a good time to initiate a conversation about a memorial to the veterans who have fought our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our longest wars. Forgetting wars is bad history. Forgetting sacrifice is irresponsible history.
Service members, veterans and their families benefit from social support approaches. We should make them part and parcel of reintegration and mental health programming and provide the resources necessary for them to grow.
Militarism in the U.S. seems to have a gravitational force pulling a wide array of resources and sectors into its orbit. Our involvement with Iraq serves as a case study for how deeply rooted militarism is in American culture and political life.