Jarrod Chlapowski

Not Just the Gays: Veteran's Day Roundup

Filed By Jarrod Chlapowski | November 11, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, GetEqual, Jason Knight, Jeffrey Correa, Justin Elzie, Pentagon Study, Pentagon Working Group, PTS, Scott Spychala, Servicemembers United, Veterans Day, Wartorn

Happy Veteran's Day from the Pentagon Working Group. As predicted, the results are fantastic. The timing of the leak does have enormous implications. But I won't get into them today.pts.jpg

A number of cool DADT events are happening across the country for Vet's day. Jeff Correa and Jason Knight are going on a 40+ mile walk across Northern California right in the vicinity of the military's language school, the Defense Language Institute. Scott Spychala is leading an event with DOD Federal Globe in Indiana. Justin Elzie GetEqual has launched a Veteran's Week to rally for repeal. Plus tons more. All this is to show the LGBT vet community is taking the lame-duck vote seriously, and for that I am eternally proud.

That's it for DADT today. But not for veterans.

I'm going to ask you to spread your scope beyond LGBT vets today, as our commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a silent price that will be paid for the rest of our generation, if not longer. More, after the jump.

About two weeks ago I was invited to a Pentagon screening of HBO's Wartorn, which focuses on Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), starting as early as the Civil War. This event was a pretty big deal - I was surrounded by enough stars to warrant the IAU to name a new galaxy - and subjects from the film participated in a panel afterwards.

The film was heartwrenching. The panel was amazing and required a box or two of Kleenex. And both really brought home how many issues vets truly have to deal with. We are a proud bunch - often too proud - but our minds are just as fragile as anyone else's.

When on our first DADT repeal tour - the Call To Duty Tour - one of our participants was part of the Somalia rescue mission popularized in Black Hawk Down. He spoke often about how DADT prevented full recovery from his experiences due to provider patient confidentiality violations, so he chose to get out of the military to get treatment. What I didn't realize until we were well into the Tour was that his treatment was ongoing. Small changes to the schedule would challenge his structure for the day or week, and cramped quarters left very little alone time, problems which manifested themselves more strongly as the Tour went on. Three quarters of the way through the tour he was forced to go home, though very, very reluctantly.

I am nowhere near an expert on PTS, but you can be sure that you know someone who is experiencing it, to some degree. If statistics from the movie are to be believed - as I think they should be - every combat veteran has experienced PTS to some degree or another.

Regardless of your opinion of the military industrial complex, or of the necessity of war, these janes and joes made the choice to serve because they felt, in their heart of hearts, that they were doing the country a service, for which each has paid dearly.

If you see a vet today, do more than thank them for their service. Thank them for their sacrifice. Let them know you'll be there for them, if and when they need it. Direct them to the right resources. And if you get a chance, watch Wartorn on HBO tonight.

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Thank you for your sacrifice, Jarrod. Thank you to all veterans for your many sacrifices that will never be widely known or reported, but which have shaped the free world in the 21st century for better or worse.

I know people with PTSD, and it is not easy to manage. It's poorly understood by the world because it is an invisible injury deep within the mind. Of course, anything we can't see is often believed not to exist. Even the military has had a history of poor treatment of the soldiers with PTSD. Thank you for bringing up this important point.

Veteran's Day is a time for all loyal patriotic Americans to honor, remember and appreciate the sacrifices made by our veterans.

Freedom is never free.

Thank you for your service, Jarrod, and thanks to all of our veterans who sought to serve with honor. You're one of my heroes, as is Alex, Eric Alva, Jeff Key and Justin Elize, and my close friends that served under DADT.