Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
In the United States there is a day set aside to recognize not only those serving in the military today but also all those who have ever served, taken the oath to defend the Constitution of the USA and defend her from all enemies foreign and domestic. That day is November 11. Other countries, including close allies of the USA celebrate their version of Veterans Day on November 11 as well. These include: France, England, Canada, Belize, India, Kenya, South Africa and Australia (which call it "Remembrance Day") Poland and Belgium. November has also been designated as Native American History month in the United States of America. Did you know that Native Americans were not granted the right to vote until 1924? Let me put this in context for you. African American men were granted the right to vote in 1870, with the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Women of all races except Native Americans, were granted the right to vote in 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Did you also know that Native Americans were not allowed to practice their religion legally until about 1980? The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) was not passed into law until 1978. That same year the Indian Child Welfare Act was finally passed making it more difficult for Indian children to be forcibly removed from their families and tribes by US government agencies. After the physical attacks, policies of cultural genocide were put into place against Native Americans for over one hundred years. The tactics against Native Americans included forced relocation, children removed and imprisoned in boarding schools far away from their families and communities, severe punishments for speaking their own languages, tribal and spiritual leaders arrested, imprisoned, corrupt government officials (mostly non-Native Americans) inserted into reservation political positions, law enforcement and medical clinics placed under the fraud ridden Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Reservations have a consistent record of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the entire United States. Native Americans also have a high percentage of their youth enlisting in the United States military.
Native Americans have voluntarily served in all branches of the US military even while genocidal policies and disenfranchisement were in place. "Historically, American Indians were known as warriors. It is a deep tradition that has continued to modern times. This is perhaps the reason the Pentagon reports American Indians and Alaska Natives participate in the military at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States." Native American women serve at over 11% of their population. The overall rate for Native Americans serving is 18.6% and has been as high as 23% of their population. Native Americans were vital to our success in communications/intelligence/cryptography in World War II-a number of Indigenous languages were used including Dineh (Navajo) and Lakota (Sioux).
Statistics as of 2016, report that only 7% of of the US population has "military experience"-a very broad definition of a veteran-with less than 1% of the population actively serving, and of those only 9% are female-this is combined for all branches of the military including the US Coast Guard. Given the percentages, our family has participated in the US Military more than most-for generations.
My family has veterans in all branches of the US military. My brother closest in age (I have four brothers) served as a US Marine, my (deceased) x husband served in the USAF as a PJ (Pararescueman). Uncles on both my maternal and paternal side served in the US Navy, US Army and US Marines from World War II through the Vietnam war. My elder cousins served in the US Marines, as paratroopers in the US Army, and in the US Navy. My younger cousins and nephews are currently serving in the US Navy and USAF. I work and have worked on military bases and off, with hundreds of active duty and veteran members of all branches of the armed forces. Over the decades, my work and life in conflict zones exposed me to experiences which correspond to those who have served directly on battlegrounds, and in field clinics and hospitals. Most of the time I lived and worked "outside the wire" every day. Many veterans return to work as contractors in the same countries where they once were active duty military, but as a civilian in similar or different capacities.
Below are a few photos of my family and close colleagues who are/were veterans. Some are still living and some are now deceased. None of my family members still serving in any branch are included. Please respect my wishes and do not copy/save or post any of these photos without contacting and receiving permission from me first, thank you. The captions include more details.
What most people don't realize is that contractors still do many dangerous jobs with and for the military in conflict zones around the world but they are not as protected, nor are they covered for as many medical conditions, injuries or illnesses on the job; or from what may result after their contracts finish. Many will suffer in silence or put off treatment if it means they must notify their supervisor, country director and/or HR. They are not usually permitted or entitled to use military base hospitals or clinics and must pay for their own way to another country with adequate health care and lose pay during that time. If their condition requires more than a "quick fix", they may be terminated. Often contractors would rather risk losing their health than being unemployed. Sometimes this results in death during a contract. Most contracts do cover 'costs of transfer' for their employees, but not all companies cover these expenses. One has to read the fine print carefully.
While many veterans will seek treatment for physical injuries, conditions or pain-they are much more hesitant to ask for help for emotional/psychological issues, conditions and suffering. They also know as contractors, and even as employees in other areas of the workforce; that having a label of "disabled", especially in terms of post trauma reactions, will hinder, restrict and even end their career, their means of work and income. There is definitely a stigma about having post traumatic stress (PTS) in most societies and communities as well as in families. Veterans, and many other people, often decide to deny, hide or self medicate their symptoms. These symptoms include: insomnia, aphasia, acting out by risk taking behavior, depression, nightmares, addictions, outbursts, mood swings, communication problems, challenges in ability to concentrate, sleep walking, digestive disorders, sexual dysfunction, impulse control, hyper vigilance and suicidal tendencies.
I know first hand about many of these symptoms from my Traditional Chinese Medicine practice treating hundreds of patients, and because my husband of many years, Marty Schmidt experienced these during our marriage, divorce, and until the end of his life. His symptoms arose not only from his time in the military, but also from the stresses and trauma experienced in his job as a high altitude mountain guide and extreme sport enthusiast. Marty told me he felt claustrophobic and restless on the "horizontal plane" and that his various symptoms were "no biggie" but they manifested continually, adversely affecting our family and our household. I'm understating the problems we had since I don't believe our personal situation needs to be described in detail here. Instead, I am writing a general overview in the hope that more people who have similar experiences might connect and recognize these signs in those they love, work with and care for, and in themselves. Post traumatic stress does "rewire" our brains.
We know now there is an epigenetic component to trauma, which means there is a genetic tendency which may be dormant over generations or may be active or activated; it is possible in Marty's family and many families, including mine - that trauma has been passed along or 'passed down' over time. All the more reason to address any symptoms and look for appropriate modalities for treating and "curing" post trauma reactions and not passing this suffering onto the next generation(s). www.whatisepigenetics.com/what-is-epigenetics/
I did not know until after we were married and our son Denali was born, that Marty came from a family who had also experienced trauma. Marty's paternal grandparents lived through the Russian revolution and most of their family were forced into transport and died in Siberia. His grandparents escaped to Poland and then Germany, only to have their three sons taken into the Nazi youth groups and then the German army while they were still teenagers. How heartbreaking for them. Both Marty's parents grew up and both participated in Nazi youth groups and residential work camps as teenagers in Germany. They lived through and were in World War II. His father was a decorated officer in the German army, serving on the Russian front. His mother was part of the Reichsarbeitsdienst der weiblichen Jugend - RAD/for women when she was 19/20 years old, then she worked for Dr. Hans Lembke in the "seed building" business appropriated by the Third Reich. They emigrated from Germany to the USA shortly after the war, married in California where they had four children. They are both still alive in their nineties. Their immediate family members (Schmidt and Apelt) were divided up between living in Germany, Argentina and the USA. Most of that generation are now deceased. I have posted some photos below of Nazi youth groups from that era and of German soldiers on the Russian front; one who looks uncannily like Marty's father when he was younger. The expression on their faces and posture in these photos is worth noting.
It is also important to consider that in a world with millions of traumatized children and families because of wars over the last century, living under siege from the Third Reich Nazis, by communists, soviets, ISIS/Daesh, the Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, violent extremist groups and criminal gangs which indoctrinate young children by violence and trauma based conditioning; that we have metastasized post traumatic stress reactions and created more potential suffering, victims and perpetrators of violence, cruelty and self destruction thoughout the globe.
Post trauma reactions are also the result of trauma due to sexual violence, abduction, child abuse, witnessing trauma in it's many forms, trauma as a result of natural disasters, accidents, horrific national events-think assassinations/attacks/massacres against a nation, a people. All these possibilities affect a large number of our world's population and especially our Indigenous populations. Trauma changes the landscape and functioning of the human brain over time.
I do not use the PTSD label since it is most often inaccurate. It is not a "dis order" but a compilation, sometimes a series of reactions. It is possible to "cure" and successfully treat the symptoms. The human brain and neurological systems plasticity means it is possible to change configurations physiologically which will resonate because of changed thinking and actions. It is not a condition that necessarily persists continually in it's intensity for the duration of a human being's life. However, post traumatic stress reactions have to be identified accurately, acknowledged and treated for therapeutic progress to happen. If you want to know more in depth, I am including a link to a published paper on this specific subject: www.scitechnol.com/peer-review/managing-post-trauma-reactionschanging-the-dialogue-and-protocols-4dbv.php?article_id=6525
The treatment used in many western societies for post traumatic stress is pharmaceuticals,medications which can cause more side effects than relief for the patients. Traditional healing ceremonies and traditional modalities such as acupuncture, herbs, sweat lodges, retreats in nature, arts therapies and loving support as well as understanding from those who share similar experiences and who have coped healthily; are all proven to relieve and usher the individual forward from their trauma reactions and gripping memories. However these options are still not paid for/reimbursed nor supported by the federal government or their programs. Most insurance programs do not cover these 'alternative' treatments. They only cover western/allopathic medical/pharmaceutical modalities.
Tragically the rate of suicides by veterans far exceeds the number of fatalities in all branches of the military during their service. The terrible statistic is "22" meaning the percentage of veterans who take their own life is 22% higher than the rest of the population. 20 veterans a day (includes active duty and reserve), almost one every hour, take their own life and these are only the "verified" suicides. Veteran suicide is at epidemic levels in the USA. www.stripes.com/news/us/va-reveals-its-veteran-suicide-statistic-included-active-duty-troops-1.533992
I have written letters to Senator Rand Paul and other senators who are working on new health care reform packages. Tricare, medicaid and medicare should include at least some of these options and cover expenses if long term treatments/therapies are needed. I urge you to email/tweet/fax your representatives to work toward more comprehensive programs and to cover more treatment options for veterans and their families. This is one action you can take to serve those who served. By focusing first on veterans, the ripple effect can be positive for our entire nation and the options open to everyone if we work together.
One man, one great leader who fought bravely for the USA, as a Navy veteran in World War II, and who worked to de-escalate the Vietnam war and promote peace in the world, particularly in Europe after World War II; was President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK suffered from injuries he received during the war for the rest of his life though he is known for not displaying or complaining about his war wounds. November was the month he was horrifically set up and assassinated in the state of Texas. We still do not have the de-classified documents, the actual names of those involved, the real deconstruction of how it was planned and implemented, who was bought off, which witnesses who came forward were murdered, and who ordered their execution. We do not have the truth yet.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29, 1917 and assassinated November 22, 1963. I remember vividly the day it happened. We were in a parochial school and asked to kneel down and fervently pray for the rest of the afternoon. This tragedy and the events of September 11, 2001 were traumatizing events for the American psyche and for American citizens.
The late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a human being who served us mightily. Hear a few excerpts from his speeches if you do not remember his words. It is less than 10 minutes. See and listen to the man himself. His vision and words were bold and prophetic. We will heed and remember him. We will not forget! www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DbhTwahqPg
Thank you to all of you who are veterans, family/supporters of veterans and to you who are still serving for your country, your communities and your families. May you be protected, guided, return home safely to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life.
Goodnight until next week,