A reader responds to our profile of PTSD advocate Mikey Piro:
I have three family members who served in active duty in my generation’s wars over the past 11 years. None were significantly injured in combat, but they are not the men who left us. One we thought was lost, but has regained semi-independence through the resources of his family and a wonderful program called Paws4vets (please visit their site; they are doing amazing things). One remains in the service, to our great worry, while he goes through a bitter divorce, drinks too much, is quite depressed and violent, and is financially beholden to military service due to his lack of private-sector skills. The other revealed recently he had been acting out sexually to combat the guilt and stress experienced in two tours. His marriage is precarious and he has been unable to maintain steady employment for several years.
I do not relay this to make excuses for them. But the lack of support and cultural bias in the military against their struggles is criminal. Our nation does not support our troops other than camera ready ceremonies and other PR opportunities.
My immediate family has borne little cost to their struggles – money here and there to help out, taking children at times when needed, attempting to provide emotional support if possible. If between my wife and I we have these immediate connections but have had such little impact in our day to day lives, how do we as a country expect to respect the sacrifices these soldiers and their families make for not only their tours, but the remaining years of their lives?
Thank you for continuing to beat the drum of this neglected issue. Our servicemembers deserve better.
We’re going to do more.