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D-Day's 70th Anniversary


"People of Western Europe, the hour of your liberation is approaching. All patriots, men and women, young and old, have a part to play in the achievement of final victory. This landing is but the opening phase of the campaign of Western Europe. Great battles lie ahead. I call upon all who love freedom to stand with us now."

According to the History Channel, this was the recording broadcasted by Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 6, 1944, also known as "D-Day". On this day in American history, both British and American troops descended upon Normandy Beach in France in order to halt the German expansion in Europe. Fortunately, on August 25 of that year, the Allies liberated France, and later liberated Europe as a whole.

The battle at Normandy was known as the "key to victory," and this past weekend, we celebrate D-Day's 70th anniversary. Even almost a century later, D-Day, part of "Operation Overlord," was the "largest amphibious invasion of all time," since Allied forces took to both land and sea when it came to swarming in on the German soldiers.

The first wave of the attack had been unsuccessful, and it had appeared that the Allied forces would be overwhelmingly defeated. However, the second wave of forces proved victorious, quickly weakening the remainder of Hitler's army. In total, 130,000 Allied troops were on the ground, joined by just under 196,000 naval personnel.

But even though D-Day was an Allied victory, it was also one of the most catastrophic battles in terms of deaths and damages. The D-Day Museum in Europe estimates about 10,000 causalities in total, with 4,413 confirmed dead troops in a single day. That figure does not sound like a lot at first, until one realizes that just under 3,500 soldiers have been killed in the U.S.-Afghan war that has so far lasted thirteen years (CNN).

Unfortunately, during this wartime period, PTSD had not yet arrived on the scene, and many veterans who took part in D-Day surely suffered from some varying degree of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Currently, the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs reports that one in five combat veterans develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, either during or shortly after combat. The Mayo Clinic defines PTSD as having three main categories of symptoms: "re-experiencing symptoms," "avoidance symptoms," and "hyperarousal symptoms". These categories can be simplified to describe symptoms of flashbacks and nightmares, feeling of guilt and depression, and insomnia, respectively.

Since there are still WWII veterans among us, including those who still continue to suffer from either undiagnosed or untreated PTSD, honor this great anniversary to help either a WWII veteran or even a current war veteran receive proper medical care and relief from their symptoms.

But veterans are strongly discouraged from seeking medical attention by ways of the VA. Reports released by CBS News in 2013 revealed that medical professionals associated with the VA prescribed 259% more narcotics than in 2002, and that individualized therapy had fallen by the wayside. A medical practitioner associated with the VA anonymously admitted to CBS News in a TV interview that "it is easier to write a prescription for narcotics and to just move along and get to the next patient" so that more veterans would be "treated". This news outbreak, coupled with the 2014 VA scandal, hopefully cause ailing veterans to consult non-associated medical facilities to rehabilitate their physical and mental health.

One of those organizations is Operation: I.V, a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2012 that helps combat veterans heal from both PTSD as well as traumatic brain injuries. Its founder, Roxann Abrams, is a Gold Star Mother who lost her son SFC Randy Abrams in 2009. Randy took his own life after experiencing a PTSD flashback from his service in Iraq. Randy had undiagnosed PTSD- a common occurrence among combat veterans either due to mistakes made by the medical field or simply the individual's failure to report such grave symptoms.

As a result of her son's death, Abrams founded Operation: I.V. so that combat veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan have a place to receive treatment through a specialized "VIP", or "Veteran Intervention Plan" program. "VIP" offers ten different rehabilitation programs, including hyperbolic oxygen therapy, service dogs, and anxiety reduction therapy. Additionally, veterans may also partake in programs such as job retraining, business mentoring, and educational assistance. Again, while there is no cure for PTSD, the programs provided by Operation: I.V. can drastically improve a veteran's mental health and overall outlook on life.

 


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