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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

America, We Must Embrace and Heal Our Veterans

An important event took place in Kalamazoo, MI yesterday evening. Author and psychotherapist Dr. Ed Tick headed a unique discussion on the "moral, spiritual, and cultural dimensions of war trauma" at this year's Reading Together series. He advocates that all citizens work together towards the return to health of soldier and society alike following the upheaval of war.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the Kalamazoo Gazette:

The transition from war zone back into society extends beyond the soldier, an author and psychotherapist who specializes in post-traumatic-stress disorder told a Kalamazoo audience Monday.

Members of society must also take an active role in healing veterans from the trauma of war, Dr. Edward Tick said in a speech at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. "We are in sacred territory here when we're considering war and its wounds," said Tick, author of "War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder."

Because of "difficult experiences and wisdom that veteran's carry," Tick said war stories should be shared as a healing process for soldiers and society and as a way to keep in mind the brutality of battle.

The sooner society begins the work of understanding the traumatic experiences of war, the sooner healing can begin. The work is done by listening to the stories of the returning combat veteran.

Tick said the long-lasting pain of war stems from trauma -- including rape, accidents, crime and illness -- that needs to be understood by society. "And when we don't let them tell their story in their community ... they lock the war inside," he said, urging a "holistic, spiritual, moral and communal" approach to healing such trauma.

Tick called PTSD an identity disorder because people who suffer such trauma lose part of who they were and need to rediscover themselves. He urged members of society to warmly welcome soldiers back from current wars, and to begin to embrace all veterans. Tick talked of creating a way of honoring "warriors," similar to how other cultures do. He said that veterans are more wise for having seen war's literal power over life and death.

After Tick's speech, Vince Rampollo said he sees the same thing today as when he returned home from serving a year in the Korean War. "People are living their life like there's no war," said Rampollo, 73, an Army veteran from Kalamazoo. "Don't they know there's a war?"

Dr. Karen Blaisure, 45, of Kalamazoo, said Tick's speech "provides an insight into some people's reality and those of us who don't go to war can be part of a solution and help."

Contact the Kalamazoo Gazette if you wish to thank them for their fine coverage of this event.

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