Showing posts with label Independence Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Independence Day. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My best friend has come home again

When my best friend came home again
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 4, 2018

Independence Day and time to celebrate what is possible. That is the way this country started. Isn't it? It began when some people saw suffering and did more than dream about what was possible. They risked their lives for it.

When I think of all the men and women who put their lives on the line, then returned home, I wonder what it was like for them. What did their families think when they were changed by everything they saw...and did?

What was it like not knowing what to do, or what to say, to take away the pain that was in their eyes? 

It isn't that hard to imagine the experience because in the 80's, that was something I had to wonder about. That was when I met my husband.

We met over a decade after he came home from Vietnam. Back then, there was no way of knowing what came home with him. My Dad, a Korean War veteran, couldn't explain it, but it was clear he understood when he used the term "shell shock."

Shell shocked

"During World War I, some people saw shell shock as cowardice or malingering, but Charles S. Myers convinced the British military to take it seriously and developed approaches that still guide treatment today."
We were just average people, trying to do the best we could to live the best life possible. We had no way of knowing what the experts had learned. What made it harder was that did not know how to make living easier that it was.

When I wanted to know what my Dad saw, I had to go to the library. Hours, weeks, months later I began to understand. What I learned, actually made me love veterans more. I understood what PTSD and what Vietnam did to him.

Back then, my husband was my best friend. Sure I knew about the nightmares and flashbacks, mood swings and memory problems, along with everything else. What I did not know was that it could get worse for him, and us. It did.

After years of feeling like I was living with a stranger, one day it happened and he came back home as the man I fell in love with. No matter what he had been through, he was still the same loving, caring best friend I decided to spend the rest of my life with. 

We've been together since 1982!

He is the reason I do what I do and have done for over 3 decades. The thing is, for all the talk about what is wrong with veterans, few are letting them know what is right about them.

I know my husband's heart as much as I know the demons he still fights. I know that he has enormous strength within his emotional core to the point where he can see a sunset and scream with joy so that I can share the experience with him. I see the drive he has when he wants to do something as much as I see the laidback chill-out times when he is watching an old TV show.

If you have a veteran in your life, you can help your best friend come home too. Nothing is impossible as long as we are ready to fight this battle with them instead of wondering what came home with them.

Come In From The Rain
Melissa Manchester

Well, hello there
Good old friend of mine
You've been reaching for yourself
For such a long time
There's so much to say
No need to explain
Just an open door for you
To come in from the rain
It's a long road
When you're all alone
And someone like you
Will always take the long way home
There's no right or wrong
I'm not here to blame
I just want to be the one
Who keep you from the rain
From the rain

And it looks like sunny skies
Now that I know you're alright
Time has left us
And wiser
I know I am
'Cause I think of us
Like an old cliche
But it doesn't matter
'Cause I love you anyway
Come in from the rain
And it looks like sunny skies
Now that I know you're alright
Time has left us
But Wiser
I know I am

And it's good to know
My best friend has come home again
And I think of us
Like an old cliche
But it doesn't matter
'Cause I love you anyway
Come in from the rain

Songwriters: Carole Bayer Sager / Melissa Manchester / Melissa Toni Manchester Come In From The Rain lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Carlin America Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Boom Boom Boobs Blowing Big Bucks

Common sense moment: Fireworks bother everyone who did not have a choice to hear them! Plain and simple!

Sure it sounds like a great news story to cover what veterans with PTSD go through. Because this neighborhood or that one has plenty of people with enough disposable funds to blow off fireworks for weeks. 

They do not care they are taking away the choice of their other neighbors to live in peace or participate, they won't care about a veteran living in the neighborhood either. 

OK, so, it is not just veterans jumping out of their skin. Babies, elderly, pets, anyone who has to get up early the next morning and the list goes on.

If you are a veteran, have a plan for the endless annoyance of boom-boom boobs. 

Get headphones. 

Turn up the TV or music as loud as possible.

Remember, sooner or later, these people will run out of money! If you're lucky, they'll be out of fireworks tonight and eating PP and J sandwiches until payday.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Why is July 4th Weekend Worse For Some Veterans?

Neighborhood Fun For Some Agony For Others
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 3, 2016

I live in the Orlando area and many nearby events have huge fireworks displays.

In Altamonte Springs there is Red Hot and Boom
The City of Altamonte Springs and XL 106.7 FM are hosting yet another spectacular Independence Day celebration to honor the birthday of America! Come rain or shine, Red Hot and Boom will deliver an unforgettable night of great performances, mouthwatering eats and beautifully synchronized fireworks. Join one of Central Florida’s most patriotic traditions and come on out for a night filled with good old-fashioned fun!
Veterans have a choice to go and watch them burst in the air or stay home. What they do not have a choice on is if their neighborhood fills up with booms and gunpowder smoke.

It started Friday night and will go on until Monday, if not longer. Normally I address what veterans should do to prepare their minds for this weekend but with all the shortcomings of "PTSD Awareness" it is time to address this to civilians.

Your fun celebrating our Independence came with a price veterans paid.  To you, watching the twinkle in the sky is pretty, but to them, when they saw the twinkle it meant tracers rounds and bombs bursting in the air.  It meant lives could be lost, many could be wounded and yes, it also meant that they may not be going home.  They remember all that.

They do not want you to give up having fun even if it comes at their expense, but at least be considerate.  

Stop shooting them off for hours at a time! 

Stop shooting them off as if you intend to fill your whole street with think smoke. 

Most veterans are prepared for this "celebration" of freedom they paid for but they should not be subjected to endless memories of what they had to do so that you could celebrate your freedom.
PTSD Hero After War 2006
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. It is because you put your life on the line and felt it more than others that you suffer today. The good news is, you can change again and heal to live a better life. I am uploading some of my older videos and pray they help you too!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day After PTSD Awareness Month Rip Van Winkle Still Sleeping

PTSD Awareness Six Years Later Little Changed
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 2, 2016

We can keep talking about raising awareness all we want but after six years of PTSD Awareness Months being dedicated by the Congress, veterans are still not aware their last worst day did not have to end their lives.

After all the talk about raising awareness the public knows just about as much as Rip Van Winkle did about current events in his time.  
“If he couldn’t make it, what chance do I have?” Manny Bojorquez
Of about 1,200 Marines who deployed with the 2/7 in 2008, at least 13 have killed themselves, two while on active duty, the rest after they left the military. The resulting suicide rate for the group is nearly four times the rate for young male veterans as a whole and 14 times that for all Americans.
In Unit Stalked by Suicide, Veterans Try to Save One Another New York Times Dave Philipps September 2015
VA Suicide Report 2012 While that report was from just 21 states, the follow up was from 23 states. Even with that reporters jumped on the "22 a day" leaving the American public to think they learned anything. What they learned was wrong. Too much was missed because it was far too easy to just grab a headline than to think much about any of this.  

And now you can see that very little has changed other than more veterans are now in their graves because a lie was allowed to live, folks gained financially claiming to be doing something and these veterans did not hear what they needed to know. The fact they can heal and do not have to suffer was something they never knew.

As you can see, the majority of veterans committing suicide are over the age of 50 in the VA system and among veterans who do not go to the VA. But we do not talk about them. Why not? 

Why have all the newer charities popping up all over the country go on unchallenged? Why do members of Congress get a pat on the back for repeating what has already failed our veterans?

Why do they get to keep saying "22 a day" and use "veterans" even though they do not do anything for the older veterans suffering long with the same wounds the newer veterans have? Why are they cast aside?

This is Independence weekend.  Monday we are supposed to be celebrating freedom but if folks bother to reflect on how that happened, they would not feel much like celebrating.  The price paid by those who put their lives on the line is far too great of a price to pay for fireworks and BBQ.

Winn Dixie, a grocery chain, is promoting a charity, Hope for the Warriors.  Not bad until you actually hear the commercial about our independence and then discover this group is about post-9-11 veterans and not all the others who put their lives on the line for generations.

The Independence Day donation program is a venture of Southeastern Grocers, Winn Dixie's parent company. More than 700 Winn Dixie grocery stores across the Southeastern states will participate. Last year's profit donation drive raised more than $3 million for veterans.
The charity they picked last year was Wounded Warrior Project, when they ran the same type of commercial making folks think it was all about all our veterans instead of a few.

There is nothing wrong with supporting a charity that has a particular focus. It is wrong when it is publicized as being all about veterans in general.

The worst thing in all of this is that Vietnam veterans had to come home and start their own group because no one else wanted them. The established charities turned them away. Now they head the DAV, VFW and American Legion.

Forgotten warrior veterans were responsible for all the research done on PTSD but are the last to matter in the reports focused on PTSD.  They are the last to matter when they are the majority of the claims in the VA system. They are the last to matter to raising awareness to the communities they live in.

So when you think about donating to a charity for the sake of our veterans on Independence Day, how about you do it with open eyes and learn how many have been forgotten?

Add those deaths together and you arrive at 90,320 but all you know is that there are over 58,000 names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. While the dates are the "acknowledged" years of the Vietnam War, the first name on that wall was, 
Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. is listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having a casualty date of June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who has a casualty date of Sept. 7, 1965.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 4th Ended Veteran's PTSD Battle and His Life

Army vet takes his life after July 4th fireworks trigger PTSD 
By: Winnie Wright

Jul 09, 2015 VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - On July 4th, Jon Kreft says he and his brother Mike were in a bar playing pool, when Mike, an Army Combat veteran, began hearing fireworks.
"I was walking behind him, and every time a firework would go off, he was covering his ears and he would jump and flinch," says Jon.

"Then he just started crying and started running down the road." He followed Mike home. He knew his brother's PTSD had been triggered by the fireworks.

He was going to play music to soothe him. "He went to the bedroom, and right when I was about to get the play button going, I look up, and he looks at me and says I love you."

The 27 year-old shot and killed himself. Jon says Mike asked friends and family not to light fireworks on the 4th of July holiday, knowing it was one of his PTSD triggers. However, the message wasn't relayed to his unsuspecting neighbors. 
read more here

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Will Winn Dixie Honor The Other Veterans Too?

Southeastern Grocers, which owns Winn-Dixie, Harveys and BI-LO, raised $3,044,091.38.

The money was raised with donations made between July 1 and July 5, plus all profits earned from sales on July 4 at the three supermarket chains. The donations were collected across Southeastern Grocers' nearly 790 stores.

And now at least you know what they think of the other veterans left out of all of this.

I went searching to find out how much Winn Dixie donated from their July 4th sales. No information yet on that yet.

While searching I started to wonder more and more about the one question no one seems willing to answer. What about the others? What about all those other over 20 million veterans?
Winn-Dixie is extremely proud to announce that on Saturday, July 4th, every cent of every dollar of profit generated at every Winn-Dixie store, will go to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Every last cent.

Wounded Warrior Project® helps our servicemen and women who have given the United States of America everything they have, to defend our freedom.

As many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war, including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment.
So what about all the others who also have "given the United States of America everything they have, to defend our freedom?" Guess they just kindof sortof forgot to mention that those numbers are OEF and OIF but millions more were forgotten about.

It is great to talk about PTSD but is sucks to leave out the veterans responsible for getting everything ready for all generations coming home from combat.
The number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era:
Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.

Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.

Vietnam War: About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans (or 15%) were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
National Center For PTSD
Those veterans, have all been forgotten about in all of this. Yes, Vietnam veterans are not included in this "honor" even though they came home with the same exact wounds the post 9-11 veterans come home with.  No different than WWII veterans still alive and forgotten.  Korean veterans, still alive and forgotten. Gulf War veterans, still alive and forgotten.

The trouble is, they all deserved better than to be forgotten about as if they never mattered at all.

Will Winn Dixie do the same for them?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Freedom Fest Parade Honoring Vietnam Veterans

Overdue thanks; Vietnam veterans to be honored during July 4th Parade
Austin Daily News
Jenae Hackensmith
Friday, July 3, 2015

This year marks the 40th anniversary since the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the official end of the Vietnam War, and the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce is taking the chance to acknowledge and thank veterans of the war during the Freedom Fest Parade.

This year, the grand marshals will be the area Vietnam veterans, who will be recognized for a war they fought in over 40 years ago and that many received little recognition for at the time.

“It was a different time in our country,” Austin Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Forstner said. “And we see this as an opportunity to do that, to recognize them the way they should have been many years ago.”

Many in the community see it as an overdue thank-you.

“We never got a pat on the back for a good job done,” Vietnam veteran Warren Smith said. “It was just forgotten about for the last 50 years.”

Many veterans from the Vietnam War have already passed away, and Smith, who fought in the war around 1967, said it’s time to honor the remaining veterans.

“They drafted us, they sent us there, and they probably should have had a recognition for us 50 years ago when this happened,” he said. “But they didn’t, so I think it’s probably about time.”
read more here