The word “heroic” is perhaps the most overused adjective in modern day lexicon, too often heaped upon people who are neither brave nor worthy of particular praise. Far too many actors and athletes are called heroes for doing what they are paid to do or for engaging in publicity stunts for the purpose of garnering the attention and acclaim of an easily impressed public. Such faux heroes are clearly nothing like the firefighter who has entered a burning building, the cop who runs into harm’s way, or the soldier who has been deployed into a warzone.
According to a recently released RAND study, it is estimated as many as a million Americans selflessly serve as caregivers for wounded troops. Families of wounded warriors deal with tremendous stress that comes from the emotional and physical demands of caring for disabled vets. They are the unsung heroes that the press and the entertainment media ignore. Their love of the wounded troops make them do whatever they can to care for the infirmed warrior after the war is over. The mother of a wounded Marine explains that Traumatic Brain Injury “affects the whole family for a very long time, most likely a lifetime. I became Steven’s primary caregiver, advocate, life skills coach, chauffeur, secretary, bookkeeper, teacher, drill instructor, medical assistant, physical-occupational-speech therapist and his mom. That blast changed the fabric of our family.”
The global war on terror has brought forth a new generation of wounded veterans that will require a lifetime of caregiving. Unlike the wounded of many past wars, these soldiers are receiving more attention, not by the government but by caring civilian organizations. The public is becoming aware that care for wounded warriors is a long term commitment that in times of austerity this White House would sooner forget. Thank God that many heroes will commit their life and health to the care of America’s wounded heroes. Talk is cheap. But these people walk the walk, and we as citizens of a free nation must support them and make their task less burdensome.
“A Nation will be judged by the Way it treats its Veterans…” - Author unknown.
The love and dedication of these caregivers must never be forgotten. As a grateful nation, we must support our wounded veterans while the American people hold their elected officials accountable for the care of those who were called to serve this nation and, as a result, are now unable to care for themselves. Several charitable organizations are working hard in this endeavor, but it’s not enough.
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