Letter: The sacrifices veterans make
Although 35 of his fellow Marines died in the battle for Ramadi, Jonathan Schulze survived. He prayed a lot when he went out on patrol that they would not be hit with an improvised explosive device, but he survived. He was the recipient of two Pu...
Although 35 of his fellow Marines died in the battle for Ramadi, Jonathan Schulze survived. He prayed a lot when he went out on patrol that they would not be hit with an improvised explosive device, but he survived. He was the recipient of two Purple Hearts, but he survived. He returned to Minnesota after his time in the Marines but the war was not over for him. He relived the violence he had experienced and committed daily with sudden flashbacks and nightly with his nightmares. He was a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder.
In December he went to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis where he learned that it would be March before they could admit him. In January he went with his parents to the VA Hospital in St. Cloud. There was a list of veterans waiting; he was No. 26. Schulze did not survive the waiting period. Five days after going to St. Cloud, he hanged himself -- another casualty of Iraq.
The Pentagon gives a figure of over 23,000 wounded in combat but if their separate list for "noncombat action" is added, the total is closer to 50,000. We do not know how many struggle with PTSD before they give up and try to seek help. Sadly, the 25 on the list before Jonathan Schulze probably need help as much as he did. When you go to war believing that it will be a "cakewalk" and that you'll be greeted with flowers, you don't budget for the true cost of war.
The Disabled American Veterans recently sent a letter reminding of the services which they provide for veterans who have made so many sacrifices for their fellow citizens. There are 39,139 disabled veterans who live in Minnesota -- that's a lot of sacrifice. Surprisingly only 3 percent respond to their request for help. If you haven't received your letter and would like to support the DAV, the address is Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301.
The Decider sent the troops to war and the civilians to the mall. What a difference in cost!
Barbara M. Edwards