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Letter: What We Owe Our Veterans

To the Editor:

Recent articles in the Valley News regarding our servicemen and women and their health and suicide statistics have caused me to wonder. We seem to have the money, skills and systems for training our young people to kill in combat. This typically occurs when soldiers are between 18 to 19 years of age. The average age when our brains are fully developed is between 24 and 26 years of age. Why, then, after they have been “used” and they return to public life, do we struggle to find the resources to “retrain” them to then become fully reintegrated into civilian life?

Helping them to relearn how to think for themselves, function outside the military and develop peaceful relationships of trust and safety certainly should be an equal or greater investment we make as a nation for those who have given so much. Undoing the military mindset might be as important as building that mindset and behavior in the first place. Having been in the military, I am quite aware that a military mindset is not a bad thing. It is most often a very good and positive growth tool for young people.

Though war is necessary and important at times in our history, it would be nice if, when nations declared war, no one showed up.

Bob Keene