Thursday, May 22, 2008

The War

This war is impacting our nation in so many horrific ways. The death of soldiers was not unanticipated. That doesn't mean the deaths are any less important or any less of a loss but death is a known entity of war. But what of the reprecussions of war now demanding attention?

Soldiers wounded in this war have a 90% survival rate which is applaudable while also presents the injured with rehabilitations never before seen in a war's wounded. Savage head injuries and facial disfigurations cause mindboggling challenges to the survivors. Loss of limbs have been a tragedy of war since wars began but ingenuity/progess in prosthetic design helps survivors better adapt to non-military life.

2007 soldier suicide rates were at an all time high and soldiers with facial disfigurement committed suicide at an even higher rate. (2100 soldiers injured or tried to kill themselves in 2007 compared with 350 in 2002; 210 succeeded in killing themselves)

And then there are the children of wounded soldiers. ABC News ran a segment tonight about the impact of parental war injuries on children. Head injuries and PTS can cause a parent to experience extreme mood swings, anger issues arise, wounds create physical challenges -- and it isn't just the soldier who deals with all this. Their children suffer from the changes in their parent.

It is clear our country's leaders did not prepare for this war in any capacity other than to invade Iraq. Troops were inadequately equipped, medical facilities in the US are embarrassingly shabby (think Walter Reed), and the VA is unable or unwilling to provide veterans with the care they need and deserve.

I despise this war and the leaders who got us into this situation. But the soldiers who volunteered are doing their job, at an embarrassingly low salary, and should be given excellent treatment upon their return. Their families must be recognized and healed also. I'd like to see our elected officials receive the care given to our returning soldiers; things would change quickly then.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Saint's Bracelet Continued

I've started wearing the Saint bracelet again. I wore it while in River Falls for Ann's college graduation and while paying the lunch bill at Mariachi Loco, the gentleman who waited on us complimented the bracelet. He then asked if I had a favorite picture and I showed him the angel that I like. He picked out three he liked and said that the picture of baby Jesus reminded him of his three year old son. Since this is a bracelet popular in Mexico I was tickled he liked it. He is from a small town near Guadalajara but only gets back there once a year.

This is a perfect example to a drive by conversation that I will always remember. The sincerity and interest shown by this stranger was endearing and, like many of these kinds of conversations, I would have loved to continue talking to him but time did not allow for it. As short as it was, the impact of this chat will be long.

Windmill Lawn Ornament

Windmills are popular lawn ornaments. In the Little Chute/Kimberly, Wisconsin, area windmill ornaments are a visible reminder of the significant Dutch population in the region. The windmill in this picture is very tasteful. This is not always the case. I have seen pink windmills, bright blue and white windmills, and some crudely crafted brick and arrow/twirly thingy creations that make Gladys's donkey look classy.

I spotted this windmill while out looking for more tacky lawn ornmaments. The quest continues.