After the Uniform

After the Uniform


[somber music]♪ ♪ – I wouldn’t go anywhere. I was starting
to get in trouble, and…I figured I’d kill
two birds with one stone.
I would get
out of town and I’ll,
you know,
do something with my life.
So I joined the military. – So I went down
to the recruiter.I signed a paper
to join the military
just because my friends
were going in the military.
– I’d just turned 18…when I went to boot camp
and became a Marine.
– I was 17 years old,getting into lots of trouble,trying to find a reason
not to end up in more trouble.
I had a friendthat was real close to me, said that I needed to do
something with my life. – My grandfather
was in the Marines,and college,
when I first went to college,
didn’t work out for me,so I figured
that’d be the best bet. – Russell Whitehead,
United States Army, 82nd Airborne Division, 5-73 Cav. – My name is
Nicholas Stefanovic. I was in the United States
Marine Corps from 2002 to 2006. – I’m Eric Gonzalez. and I served in the Marine Corps from 2008 to 2014. – My name’s Sergeant
First Class James Goleman with Oregon Army National Guard. Been in for 22 years. – My name is Rickey Riddle. U.S. Army veteran. I served in Iraq
from November 2009 to December 2012.[percussive music]♪ ♪ – It’s not like
being a civilian, and it’s– it’s hard. It’s discipline. It’s…supporting of each other.It’s–it is a…service of selfless serviceto others.It’s about rite of passage.It’s about friendships–real friendships
that last a lifetime.
– I actually
really enjoyed that. I was never
in the same place every day. It was always something
different, something new. You know, we’re in mud high– you know, chest high in water,and the next day
I might be in the bone desert,
you know, looking for somebody.But it was fun
and I liked it.
– So when you come in,you kind of leave that
civilian life behind you.
You start going
through training.
You start going through
an acculturation process.
There’s this closenesswhen you stand side by side
with somebody
at 2:00 in the morningand somebody’s
trying to kill you.
Those bonds last forever.I don’t think,
by and large,
the civilian society
understand how strong that is
and how powerful it is,and it lasts forever.So once you go through
this whole process,
and you go to war,you’re changed forever.You’re not gonna come backthe same person
you were when you left.
[percussive music]♪ ♪ – It changes different
things about you. Different ways you view things. It takes your innocence. Your innocence is gone, whether you see anything or not. – I had no idea what was in store for me
or… I don’t even think I thought
far enough ahead to… even ask myself whether
I was ready to be in a war of a– and I can’t really remember
exactly what I was thinking.I think we all live with this
kind of false sense of security
as if, like, bad things don’t
really happen in this world.
You know, like,
we watch the news,
and you see riots or murdersor things like that,and it’s almost like
you’re watching a movie.
You leave,
you shut the TV off,
and you walk away saying,“Life isn’t–
that’s not–
I don’t–I won’t ever
have to deal with that.”
I don’t think–you know,it’s almost like we believe it
doesn’t even happen.
And I had always had that
false sense of security. I’d never seen violence until I… deployed. And so that… security was ripped
away from me at that point. I was thrown into reality.– I got lucky.I didn’t have to
pull the trigger once.
I got into a few
small little issues
that I guess I probably could
have fired if I needed,
but never needed to. So…Got a few rocket attacks.Got some small arms fire.– 99% of the time, nothing happened. But that 1% of the time– you know, it’s– it’s nothing like a movie.I mean, you don’t–
nothing can prepare you for it
and you don’t expect it.It just happens.And then it’s over.You spend the rest
of your downtime just… trying to prepare yourself for the next time
something happens.[percussive music]♪ ♪ – It was easy.
It was simple. It was… I mean, you have a regimen. You know what you have to do. The hardest part is just hoping that everything back home
was being taken care of. I asked my wife, you know, unless it’s something big,
you know– the water heater breaks,
I don’t want to know about it. If, you know–
if the car breaks down, I don’t want to know. These are things I didn’t want
to be cluttered with. I wanted to be able
to concentrate over there so I could do what I had to do
and go home. – You want to try to still
maintain that connection, but that’s not always healthy for the service member, who really does need
to not be… involved with the day-to-day
happenings at home when they– they usually cannot do
anything about it. You know, they can’t have
that lecture with their son who’s not doing well
on his algebra, you know. It’s just–
it’s frustrating for them to not be able to act on it. So, the communication
of hearing, you know, “I rely on you to help me,”
you know, “The tire just broke down
on the 405 “and I haven’t–
you know–my car– “I don’t know how
to get the jack out. What do I do?” You know,
you want to turn to them, and, on the one hand, you know, sometimes that service member may feel good
to still feel needed. You know, there may still be
a place for him or her in the life of their family, you know,
while they’re deployed. On the other hand, it really is important for them to be able to focus on the job, and I think that
that communication that we’ve had is a mixed bag.[somber music]♪ ♪ – Anybody who has been through
a life-threatening event in combat in particular– combat is
a transformative experience. People change. It doesn’t matter
whether they develop post-traumatic stress disorder
or not.When you’ve been fired on and
you are firing at other people,
it changes who you are.It changes your nervous system.It changes the way you think
about the world.
– Everybody wants to put… a label on it about the– “It was the bullets.
It was the blood. “It was the gore.
It was the bombs. It was the explosions.”And that–it all ties into it,but that’s not all
that PTSD is from.
– PTSD has just undergone
a revision in its definition,
but there are essentially
five major parts. The person has to have suffered what we call a traumatic event.That means something
that’s life-threatening
or something that threatens
to crush their identity.
A rape might be
something like that.
Combat is something, clearly,
that is life-threatening.
Accidents can be
life-threatening as well.
So that’s
the first piece of it.
Then there is a reexperiencing
of those things.So it may come back
in flashbacks.
It may come back in nightmares.It may come back
in body sensations
that are simply triggeredbecause there’s a helicopter
going overhead,
and the helicopter
triggers fear in the body
and you hit the deck.So, there’s reexperience.The next piece of it
is what we call avoidance,
and avoidance–
it’s avoidance of things
that remind you of the trauma.The next piece of it
is what we call negative cognitions and moods. What does that mean? It means anger, it means guilt and shame, and it means fear. It really means
those three sets of things that we see.And finally, there is a piecethat has to do
with body arousal,
and body arousal
is everything from insomnia
and being unable to sleep
because your nervous system
is so jacked upto being hypervigilant,checking everything out
all around you
to make sure you’re safe.Being irritable.
Being very jumpy.
You can startle easily.In about 2/3 of people,we can heal PTSD. which means that we can reduce
or eliminate their symptoms enough so that they no longer have post-traumatic
stress disorder.They don’t meet criteria
for the diagnosis.
The other 1/3 of them–we can help make them better,but they develop
what’s essentially
a chronic form of PTSD,and we are still trying
to find treatments
for that group of peoplebut we haven’t
solved that problem yet.
So, healing–we know now
we can heal about 2/3.
That’s about the same healing
rate we get in cancer,
so that’s pretty good, but it’s not good enough. Let’s just face it. We need to do better.[somber music]♪ ♪ – My first experience in combat was… It made me realize that, you know,
death is real. Violence is real. I can’t call
the police right now. I can’t call
my parents right now. I have to do what I need to do in order to survive,even if that meansparticipating
in violence myself.
I found myself
having to do things
that, in this country,are the most extreme taboo
that we have in society.
You know, taking the life
of another human being–
there’s nothing
worse that you can do
in our society.So all of a sudden, I found
myself in these situations
where…that’s what we were–it’s…what I had to do.It was a very–Just that thought process alone
was a little traumatic.
– Now we are dealing with
something we call moral injury, and that is
when you do something that violates– fundamentally violates
your beliefs.Now, for a moment,any combat is gonna do that,because most of us grow up
with the Ten Commandments.
One of them says,
“Thou shalt not kill.”
And military says,“We’ve got to go
kill the enemy.”
Many people are able
to compartmentalize that and to say, “Okay, “I did it, but it was a war.
It’s not me. The rules were
different over there.” And they come back,
and they’re fine, and that is really true
of most people. Most people are okay with that. But there is a subset, and it’s a minority, that can’t do that. – You know,
you’re always on the edge, and it’s a catch-22
wherever you went. And the biggest one for me was having my
sergeant major dieand not being told–or being told that
I can’t go and rescue them.
And I remember my partner Joe,who was a big guy–
big, stocky guy–
just panicking,running around,
kind of scratching his head
and pulling his hair outbecause I did the one thing
that we weren’t supposed to do,
and that’s
leave somebody behind.
And that was, I think,
the key breaker for me.
And at the time,
I didn’t know that.
– We call that survivor guilt. “It should have been me,”or, “If only I had been there,then it wouldn’t
have happened.”
Or, “If only I’d have
pushed him out of the way,
the bullet wouldn’t
have hit him.”
Or all of those
kinds of things.
And it’s called survivor guilt.– There was one guy
in Iraq that got–
that died from an accidental
discharge of a round that he was unloading out
of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He was just putting–
setting them in the back of a little
four-wheel-drive Gator. And he accidentally set one
on top of another, and it had, you know, hit the firing cap. You know,
cooked off another round, and it killed him. There was nothing
I could do about it, but I still
blamed myself for it, ’cause I should have
been there sooner.But I just took
all the blame for it.
I just decided that I, myself,were to blame.If I would have known more,or if I would have
been there sooner,
or if, you know,
I hadn’t stopped at the MWR…
I mean,
maybe he’d still be alive.
I don’t know.But I take everything
very personally.
And I live in the past.Lived in the past, if you will.I do better now.I still remember
a lot of things.
It’s not that. It’s just the simple fact that I’ve come to accept… the fact that it happened and… even if I knew
it was gonna happen beforehand, there’s probably nothing
I could have done. And… that’s–it– and now,
nothing will change anything. Nothing will change any of it.– Survivor guilt, in some ways,is kind of like moral injury,and what I mean by that is,you know, it’s a kind of guilt
that’s very hard to let go of.
It’s a guilt that can become
actually defining,
and what I mean by that is–so, some people say,
“Well, if I mourn
“my buddy–“you know, who I think
I should have been there for–
“if I mourn him,
that means letting go of him. “And so I keep the pain “and I keep the guilt, and then I never
have to let go of him.” And so part of what
we have to do is to untangle those two things. We have, really, three
main populations that we see.One of the populationsis a population of veteranswith post-traumatic
stress disorder,
and we’re seeing
a lot of veterans
coming back from the Iraq
and Afghanistan wars
with PTSD–probably about
18% to 20% of them.
But we’re also seeing a new
generation of people with PTSD,
and these are Vietnam veteranswho never came
to treatment before
and who have worked
for their entire lives,
and now they retire.And many of them have worked
for long periods of time,
and they worked 12-hour days,and so they weren’t thinking
about their PTSD symptoms;
they were blocking them out.And then, when they retire,all of it comes
rushing back in.
So we’re seeing
two different streams– large streams of people– one from the recent wars
and one from the Vietnam War.[contemplative music]♪ ♪ – Coming back was… I’m trying to think of how–
if there’s a word– there’s not even
a word to describe it, but it’s a ball of emotions that you get from everywhere. You get it from
your dog seeing you or your sister seeing you or your mom or your dad.For me, it was…kind of another thing.It was–I was still
in a monotone mind-set,
and it was just
another thing for me,
so I didn’t even think about,
honestly, coming home.
I didn’t dwell on it.I wasn’t–I wasn’t here, mentally.I was still somewhere else
coming home.
– We flew out…When was it? November? October 30. It was October 30.And this big airliner
flew in, and, you know,
everybody’s family
was just waiting at the–
at Pope Air Force Basein North Carolina,just north of Fort Bragg.And it was real surreal.I mean, you get off,and you get in formation.You get your handshake
by generals
and sergeant majors and everybody else
welcomes you home.Then you get out in formation.They tell you you’re dismissed.Then you go meet up
with your family.
– Everything was good
for a couple days. I noticed, three days
after I got home, sitting in my
favorite restaurant with my daughter and my wife, and my daughter was
sitting right next to me, and I had my arm around her, and we were talking,
and then, all of a sudden, I just didn’t
want her touching me. And I didn’t know why. I wanted to talk to her. I still wanted to fully engage, and–and my wife
kept on looking at me, ’cause she knew something
that didn’t seem right. And so she was my hero. She kind of told my daughter, “Well, let’s color on this for,
you know, right now and give Dad
a little bit of space.” And I went home and… Went home and cried
about that one. And my wife said, “You know,
it’s just part of what it is. “It’s not a big deal. We’ll get through it.” – When they tell us,
“You don’t get paid to think,” you get out
thinking the same thing. It’s just, you go to work, come home, you drink, or chill with your friends,
do what you want. The next day,
it’s the same thing over and over and over. It’s that routine. When you get out,
there’s no routine.You make your own routine;
you make your own schedule,
and a lot of people
aren’t prepared for it,
or you don’t have as much
support as you thought you did.
You don’t have
anybody to lean on
or tell you what to door what time to be hereor anything like that.So you have to find
your own job,
your own apartment,pay your own bills,’cause the Army did it for me,but, you know,
it’s a different experience.
– What happens is, you’ve gone through this and you’re all excited
to get out of the service and get home, and you get home, and there’s high fives and hugs all around, and all of a sudden, all of that stuff. Then, three days later, you know, maybe Grandma died. Your brother
and sister are married and they’re off doing whatever. Your parents are older. Nobody seems to get… you.You have that feeling
they don’t understand you.
You can’t get a job.Ugh.
Whatever the case might be.
And, so, all of a sudden,in the midst of what was
this brief happiness,
you’re kind of in a dark spot.You’re kind of alone.And then problems start
manifesting themselves.
Now, don’t get me wrong.That’s not everybody.I mean, everybody
has certain things, but there’s a certain
part of the people that are affected
more than others. So… You know,
it’s a hard transition.– Some of the really
different experiences
that people have
when they’re in warzones
give them a different view
of the world.
Also, just the experiences
that they’re–
just the trauma exposure
that they have
to death, dying, combat–very difficult thingsthat most civilians
aren’t exposed to–
makes a big difference.Also, as the couplesare dealing with
ongoing issues at home,
every time–
the multiple deployments
has been really different
in these wars,
where–the fact that people
would deploy not just once
and then come back
and had a chance
to reintegrate and focus,but the multiple deployments
mean that every time you leave,
you’re coming back
slightly different,
and you don’t have a chance
to really reintegrate
and get to know your familythat has changed now
since you’ve been gone. And I think that’s– it’s really hard for the person
that’s been at home to accept some
of these differences, and it’s very
alienating sometimes for the person who’s been gone to try to figure out
how to be happy with what’s been
happening at home. They don’t know
their kids anymore. They’ve–life has gone on, and their routines have changed, and they haven’t grown together. They may have grown apart, and that can be
a very big challenge now too.– Even when I got home
after my deployment,
I still wanted to go back,’cause you go over there,you’ve got all these
priorities, all these missions,
all these responsibilities,and then you come back to…Not a whole lot. I mean, you have– okay, if you had a job, now you come back and, you know, depends on where you work, Now they’re trying to tell you how to do, you know, this job or whatever. Your family’s telling you,
“You know what? “Don’t worry about that;
we got this.“We’ve been doing this
since you’ve been gone.
“It’s not a big deal.“I’ll do the–you know,“I’ll get the lawn
taken care of.
I’ll get the oil changes done.”“Yeah, the same guys
that fixed that pipe,
we’ll have them fix this,”and it’s like–they want to take care of you.They want to give you that–
you know, that space
and that kind of relaxation,but at the same time,you’re–you just want
to accomplish something,
do something.And I’m not talking
something big. Just something to keep
your mind off of other things and keep you productive.People have to understandthat everybody…reacts to things differently.You take anybody
out of their home for a year,
put them with
a bunch of knuckleheads
that they hang out with
and drink with
once a month or whatever,and expect them
to come back normal,
and it just doesn’t happen.You don’t go over there
and come back the same person.
Whether you got
into an engagement,
got blown up or not,it had zero relevance.You’ve changed your whole
life structure for a year.
My daughter–you know,
her and I were talking, and she said she was hoping to see me go a week,
you know, without crying most of the time,
and stuff like that. And that–
I didn’t even realize it, but she said, you know– she said she couldn’t stand seeing me just
driving down the road and just start
crying for no reason. And it bothered me that it took… you know,
from 2011 when I got back to 2014 to find out
that my daughter was seeing this and it was bothering her. – We need to remember that from a family perspective, those people also serve. The veterans serve by choice, and maybe the spouse
understands this, because they also agreed
to marry the veteran. The children never choose it. That’s not–children
don’t get to choose the life that
their parents have. So military families also serve.Now, take somebody
out of their home.
Okay?Now the home has to change.Let’s say the man
gets deployed,
so the wife
becomes Mom and Dad.
That’s what happens.Wife becomes Mom and Dad,and then the kids get
used to Mom being Mom and Dad
and turning to Mom
all the time,
and yes,
Dad may Skype over here,
but, really, who they
have to rely on over here is Mom. And then Dad comes home. And Dad–for Dad, he’s ready for it to go
back to the way it was nine months ago.But the kid has changed.Nine months have gone on,and it’s a long time
in the life of a child.
And Mom has changed,because she’s
had to be everything
to the child.And now Dad wants
to move back in.
The kid isn’t just ready
to jump into Dad’s arms
and go, “Yes,
everything’s gonna be
the way it used to be.”– There’s been a disconnect
with the family and the service member who has had really
different experiences, so it’s absolutely okay for things not to be okay. It would be very unusual if there wasn’t a time
that was needed to kind of reintegrate
and spend time getting to know
each other again. – It gets old fast. I mean, when you go
into a restaurant– we went into a restaurant where they do all the cooking
right in front of you, and so they’re banging
and clanging the knivesand the spatulas on the steel.And so we went there
for my birthday in April,
after I got home,and I was doing better when they were doing it
in front of me, but when the table behind us
was getting their food made up, I was coming out of my skin,’cause I couldn’t see it,
I couldn’t watch it–
I didn’t want to turn around
and sit there
and stare at the familyand look like a–
you know, an idiot.
But it was just–
it was driving me nuts,
and it wasn’t so much–
it wasn’t fear or scared.
It was just–it was an annoyance.It was, you know,the banging and clanging–it was just driving me nuts.And my kids, you know,
they’re like, “Well, we can go
somewhere else.” I said, “No, I’m– “I love the food here. “You know, we’ll wait. I’ll get through it.” So I had my daughter
on one side holding my hand, I had my son on the other side
holding my hand… Till we got our food, and then nobody else ordered
until we were done, thank heavens.– It’s not about
getting over it.
You’ve been trained
to make things safe.
That’s what your
military training has done,
and that’s what the trauma
has reinforced for you,
and so you are alertedand hypersensitizedto anything that is
potentially unsafe.
And you don’t
just get over that,
and you don’t get over
the nervous system change.
The two worst things
you can say to a veteran are, “Did you kill anybody?” and, “Why don’t you
just get over it?” Because it– when you say–when somebody says,“Why don’t you
just get over it?”,
it’s a very non-empathetic
position.
It’s saying, “I don’t get it.“I don’t understand why“you’re doing
what you’re doing,
“why you’re feeling
what you’re feeling–
just stop it already.”And what that says
to the person is, “You don’t really get me. “You don’t understand me. “And maybe you don’t
even care for me. Maybe you don’t
even care for me.” And so it’s
a very difficult position for a veteran to be in.[somber music]♪ ♪ – The military culture trains you to be
able to handle things, not to unload your emotions, your problems,
your family’s problems on anybody else. And it tends to make it harder and more challenging to work.– I know, myself, I refused to
get help for a very long time,
because there was people
that had been through
a lot more than I had.And…you know,
if they didn’t need help,
then there’s no possible way
I would ever need help.
I mean, that would just–just be unbecomingof a soldier, if you will.And pride kicks in,and you just
got to let pride go.
‘Cause you’re not
doing anybody any good. You’re just making it
worse for everybody if you don’t get help. Making it worse for yourself, which makes it worse
for your family. – Stigma comes
at different levels. So let’s start
with stigma in the military. The stigma in the military
is very risky, because if you admit
that you have post-traumatic stress disorder or, really, any other kind of
serious mental health problem,you can be medically
discharged.
Not only can you
be medically discharged,
but it also is
what they call a career killer.
Basically,
you’ll never get promoted.
It stops at that moment.So there is a very
strong incentive,
if you’re in the military,not to admit that you have these problems, because otherwise,
your career’s over. Then, there’s this
other piece of stigma that goes with it. So, if you are– if you’re a soldier, if you’re a Marine,you pull up your boots
by your bootstraps.
You don’t admit weakness.You’re not allowed
to admit weakness.
Weakness is a terrible thing.And PTSD or depression
or any of those kinds of things
really are viewed
as weaknesses.
And so to admit those things,to say those things,is to admit weakness.And it’s also to admit
being out of control.
And military training
teaches you to take control, so it’s very opposite
to your training, so you come back
to the civilian world and people say,
“Why don’t you just admit “that you have PTSD already “and go get some help for it? and, you know,
get done with it?” And it’s not that simple, because then they have to
admit that they’re weak, that they’re vulnerable. And so it’s
a very difficult concept to say, “I need help.” And the stigma really goes
against the “I need help” part.[percussive music]♪ ♪– Too many people, they want
to put it on, you know,
combat, combat, combat, combat.Take anybody out
of their home for a year, I don’t care where you put them, and then throw them
back into their home– it’s a traumatic event. – About 30% of the families
who have served since 9/11 came back from deployment
in the Middle East with trauma, substance abuse, or other issues
related to their deployment. They were not all in combat, but some were close enough that they were affected. – Coming home for a couple
of months was fine, and I believe
it was about a year, maybe–maybe a year– could be less– when things just
fell apart for me. And I can say
I literally hit a wall at 90 miles an hour. And I don’t say that proudly, but I don’t hide it
or deny it either. I was with the wrong people
one night,and alcohol got involved,and I decided, unconsciously,that I was gonna drive,and I had a passenger with me.It was a Marine as well,good friend of mine;
we still talk to this day.
And… next thing I know, I’m… physically turning a wheel– my driver wheel–and I’m coming off the highway,and I’m skidding into a wall.And then I see
flashing lights behind me,
and there’s probably
about seven or eight units.
And I remember
getting out of the vehicle and the next thing you know, I’m getting
arrested and whatnot, and it just went from there. And… I remember bits and pieces, but not fully, like, every– I can’t give you, like,
a minute-to-minute description of what happened. Other than my incident in court, I’d never had any of that. I didn’t have a speeding ticket,
a parking ticket– you couldn’t find me in
the system if you wanted to. And then I come home
and I have six, seven charges, all of a sudden, that some people
can pick up in ten years; I picked up all in one night. And… to anybody’s eyes, that doesn’t make any sense. That’s like black and white. I had assault charges. I had resisting arrest. I believe
fleeing the scene of a crime. Excessive speeding. DUI. I believe they tried to get me
for aggravated assault, but I’m not too sure, and I think there’s one more.– When I got
out of the military,
got involved with drugs.I was in a downward spiral.I was homeless,not doing well, and I ended up
in the criminal justice system.Towards the end,I stopped working.I lost my apartment.And then it was just a matterof constantly trying
to find money,
and I ended up
walking into a bank
with a check that was not mineand cashing it, and…so I was arrested for possession
of a forged instrument.I try to think back about
what was going through my mind
when I was–you know,
I was living out of my car
for, like, the last six months
before jail.
And I try to think, like,
what were my plans?
And…I think my life was at a point where I wasn’t suicidal, but I– I wasn’t trying
to avoid death in any way. I really just didn’t care,and I did not have any plansbeyond getting highand trying to find
enough food to sustain me
till the next day.I had no goals.
I had no future. I never even gave a thought
to my future.[somber music]♪ ♪ – In late 2006, I’m presiding over a mental
health treatment court. There was an individual, about 6’4″– Vietnam veteran, which I knew
was a Vietnam veteran, in my mental health
treatment court. The reports I was receiving back from their treatment provider– their community
treatment provider– was that they were not
doing that well.I called the case,and he stood in front of me.His posture was slumped.He wouldn’t look at me
directly in the eyes.
His head was directed
toward the carpet.
Eyes directed at the carpet.And I asked himwhy wasn’t he really engagedand what was going on there
at his counseling program? And he just kind of gave
a guttural response, like, “Uh. Mm.” And I said, “Could you take this
one gentleman out in the hallway and talk to him?” Find out what’s going on. What we could do. Why he’s not really responding and engaged. They did go out in the hallway. About 20 minutes later, they returned back
into the courtroom.I see them enter
into the courtroom.
I asked my court clerk
to recall the case.
When the case was recalled, this one veteran who was
standing in a slumped posture, eyes–head lowered,
eyes directed at the carpet– was standing in front of me
erect now with his hands behind his back, feet slightly apart, standing in what
is unique to military culture as parade rest. Then he looks at me now, directly in the eyes, and said,
“Judge, I’ma try harder.”To me, it was
a remarkable response
from someone
that was really not engaged
and from someone who had
went into the hallway
to talk to two other vetsand then come back with
a totally different response.
So to me, I realized that
something happened, and I don’t know what, but something happened. For us to really be able
to make an impact on what’s happening in society, it’s a realization that we can’t
just jail or imprison our way out of some of the challenging
social issues, but we need to address
some of the underlying issues that bring people
into the criminal justice. If we can get people
clean and sober– those in their mental health–
stable in their mental health– then we’re able to have people
be productive citizens and also improve on public
safety in our communities.[serene music]♪ ♪ – What probably frustrates a
veteran more than anything else is when people
dance around issues or pretend there’s
not a communication that needs to occur. Have the communication
with that person. You’re not upsetting
these people. These are not fragile people
from that standpoint; these are people that, you know, learned to be bold, and we paid them
and trained them to be bold, so have bold
conversations with them. I think you’re gonna be
much more productive. – In a perfect world, what I’d like to see is that,
number one, we all accept our veterans, and we care for them, because they’ve sacrificed
so much for us, and that we treat them
with the respect that they deserve and the thanks
that they deserve for doing that. In a perfect world, we would accept them, even if they have been changed by what their experiences are, and we would accept them
for who they are.[emotional music]♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

2 Replies to “After the Uniform”

  1. There are far to many Vietnam Vets still not receiving help. I am and I know it's valuable. More points about Vietnam is my only criticism.

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