Editorial: Supporting those who protect us

Amid the aftermath of a dramatic election, pandemonium has broken out across the country. Whether one is happy about the results of the election, or one is not, there is emily-featuredstill much to be thankful for as a citizen of the United States of America.

While many people are fighting social media battles over Facebook posts and Twitter feeds, there is a dedicated group of men and women who have devoted their lives to protecting the many freedoms we have as Americans. Over 1.3 million members of our society are active duty military, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop in anyone who has experienced trauma. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs National Center for PTSD, between 7 and 8 percent of all U.S. citizens will have PTSD at some point in their lives.

Trauma is not a rare occurrence, but certain contextual situations that arise when serving in the military make it more likely for these men and women to have PTSD. Though it ranges by conflict, PTSD affects between 10 and 30 percent of all combat veterans from Vietnam, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

It is important that these men and women who served our country get the treatment and support they deserve. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs works to aid those who need medical attention.

America’s VetDogs is one organization striving to make a difference in the lives of veterans.  Along with training dogs for those with vision and hearing impairments and other disabilities, America’s VetDogs trains dogs especially to aid those with PTSD.

The service dogs are taught to calm down their owners in stressful situations, turn on lights so that the veterans do not have to enter dark rooms, retrieve items and wake their owners up if they are having nightmares.

Organizations such as America’s VetDogs and the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, where you can sign up to be a volunteer, support those who were in the military and create a bond among us all.

Most importantly, we need to show our support for the military and for veterans. While not specifically helping PTSD patients, there are numerous ways to provide support. Operation: Welcome Home Maryland volunteers greet arriving troops from overseas at BWI Airport.   Organizations such as Operation We Are Here and Soldier’s Angels help distribute cards and letters to men and women currently serving and to veterans.

Surrounded by the hatred and uproar after the election, I hope that we can come together, regardless of political affiliation, to support some of the bravest citizens of our country.

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