Honoring the Costs of Military Service


Soldiers going off to war. PTSD. These are words and images that we have seen before and know something about, even if we’ve never experienced it ourselves.

Perhaps because I grew up in a military family, on this Veterans Day my mind goes to the costs of military service at the very personal level. Take this family photo by Abby Bennethum, of her then four-year daugher Paige, unable to let go of her daddy’s hand as he was called into formation to serve in Iraq. It spoke to many of us, both through her hometown paper and then through more national coverage. I first saw the poignant photo through the USAA website months ago, and it remains in my heart still.

There are the separations, and moves from one part of the country or the world to another, at a time of the government’s choosing, to a location you may or may not have requested. There are many ways, large and small, that our country’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members have given of themselves in service to our country. If this is or has been you—thank you for your service.

I saw a video that truly brought home for me the deep costs some service members experience…click on the image to the right to watch it for yourself. It’s about veterans experiencing PTSD and some practitioners of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) who work with them. You see the in-the-moment effects on the vets of recounting their original trauma, along with the effects since coming home, and glimpses of what they went through to become freer from its grip. For anyone who would like to explore receiving similar help for themselves or others, the Iraq Vets Stress Project offers some resources. There is also a Real Warriors website that offers a different array of support for vets’ “resilience, recovery and reintegration.”

Note: Experiencing these vets’ stories through video was a powerful experience for me, and I used a variation of EFT while watching it to work my own emotions that came up. The video below shows the points for SET, a simplified version of EFT. It gives you a chance to try out an energy tapping technique for yourself in 10 minutes if you’re interested. (Obviously for those experiencing PTSD and wanting to try EFT, the Iraq Vets Stress Project would be the best resource, as an experienced practitioner is important.) I chose this video because Steve Wells demonstrates here a hand technique that can be easily used in everyday life…and that’s what I used while watching the vets video.

As I said, I experienced a lot of emotions just watching the vets in the “Emotional Freedom for War Veterans” video, and I have never been in situations close to those described. Again my thanks to all those who have served as veterans, and to the vets in the video who were willing to share so nakedly of their experience.

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