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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Support our troops'

What does this mean when they return home?

Recently I met a young Marine returned from Iraq. He spent his leave doing only what he had to and drinking his nights away. His attitude caused an event that put him in the brig for five years — with no help for the traumas he experienced.

I met another young man who was raped in the Navy and later beat his rapist. He ended up in the brig, receiving a dishonorable discharge. Again, he received no help for his trauma.

Then there was the young female soldier who had seen way too much in Iraq and was wounded. She has severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Will she get the help she needs so she can experience the life she fought for?

I recall a returning vet, a good family man, with a good job and the respect of his community. His marriage disintegrated, he lost his job and was arrested six times for alcohol-related offenses. They found him hanging from a bridge.


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September issue

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