As proud military retirees, the Board members of the Memorial Foundation know first hand that military families accept the risks and challenges of service as part of military life. But the War on Terrorism has placed new stresses on our military and their families. And the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with its often invisible enemy, has created a new type of battlefield.
For example, you have probably read about the common use of "roadside bombs" or "Improvised Explosive Devices" in Iraq by the enemy. The massive explosions and shock waves produced by these devices are resulting in a poorly understood form of brain damage that is often not diagnosed until weeks or months after the fact. Then there is the media coverage.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created new challenges both for the soldiers still overseas and the OIF/OEF veterans here at home.
Time and again, we see extremely severely wounded men and women (paraplegics, quadriplegics, multiple amputee cases, severe burn victims, those with brain damage etc.,) being discharged and sent home where their families are providing 24 hour a day care and acting as nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and more. As one father said, “My wife or I must be at his side every minute of the day…” The Foundation is currently providing assistance to a number of cases such as these -- helping provide the support, equipment and services we believe our government should be providing. Will you help us help them?
Almost constant news coverage of terror attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere keeps those at home in a state of anxiety about their loved ones. Deployments are longer and more frequent, and it is common for soldiers to have been to Iraq and Afghanistan several times. As a consequence, families may only see their loved ones for a few weeks or even a few days before they go overseas again. Thousands of reservists are having difficulty making ends meet because they have left second jobs behind, and many of these families are facing financial disaster as they put their second careers on hold – some have been forced into personal bankruptcy. The stress placed on military families is tremendous and we try to help them in any way we can.
There is another difference: More than ever, our wounded soldiers receive extraordinary emergency and battlefield care. This means many soldiers are surviving and coming home when, in previous conflicts, they would have died. Many of these young men are then released from VA hospitals and sent home where they will need a lifetime of care.
Armed Forces Aid Campaign - A Project of the TREA Memorial Foundation @ 2014
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