“Veterans Come Home to Unprepared Nation!” Most folks just don’t get it… nor want to engage in “life after war” community responsibility. We vote to send our young adult citizens to war, yet ignore the “soul repair” work when they return home…

by | Aug 26, 2013

Veteran Lance Cpl. Victor Nunez Ortiz of Amherst, Mass., holds a picture of his best friend Jeovanni Lopez, a veteran who died in a car crash. Nunez Ortiz believes the crash wasn’t an accident but a suicide.

“There is a disconnect!”

“In the 12 years since American troops first deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2.6 million veterans have returned home to a country largely unprepared to meet their needs. The government that sent them to war has failed on many levels to fulfill its obligations to these veterans as demanded by Congress and promised by both Republican and Democratic administrations, a News21 investigation has found.”

“Retired Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, an Arizona State University professor who is based in Washington, D.C., said most of the nation has little contact with the military since “the military represents just 1 percent of the population.”

“That means,” he told News21, that 99 percent of Americans “don’t know what a family is going through, don’t know what a military child is going through with a mom who deploys overseas … there’s a disconnection.”


I am reminded again today like every day since researching and publishing my book, and starting this blog two years ago that we are not doing enough to help our warriors when they return home.  It is even worse when you start to dig into the affects of war on military children and families.  And the worst part of  the nightmare for countless American military families who are the caregivers of our warriors, is this is not a new story.  We now know about moral injury, PTSD, soul repair, mental health treatment strategies, including alternative treatment connected to the subject of “mindfulness.”  I like 1000’s of other military “brats” not only lived in a post war period but many have served and will serve in post WWII combat, including the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and post 9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…  Now in the 21st Century we have whole new generations of youngsters who will serve in the Armed Forces of America and potentially in new wars around the world.  It is like bad genes, the emotional baggage carries forward without a clear path to heal and support those who serve, including the children and families of veterans of all wars…

I believe we should go back and pay attention to Native American traditions of healing warriors in their own communities with local resources, and “human connectedness” with family, friends and loved ones.  Until we accept that it is the community not the government that is in the business of healing damaged souls from moral injury and in the long term treatment of PTSD, we will not get it, nor will 99% of the population of America who are not touched by war take responsibility…  There is a silver lining in this painful discussion, however…at the very least we know what to do and the level of awareness increases exponentially through social media with each day.  I am hopeful that in the not too distant future, local communities everywhere will learn how to execute effectively and circle around warriors when they return home just like Native Americans have done in the past and continue to this day…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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