From the VA: Afghanistan: Let’s Talk About It

Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events in Afghanistan, such as the U.S withdrawal and the takeover by the Taliban.

You are not alone.

Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s normal to feel this way. Talk with your friends and families, reach out to battle buddies, connect with a peer-to-peer network, or sign up for mental health services. Scroll down for a list common reactions and coping advice.
Resources available right now

Veterans Crisis Line – If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.

Vet Centers – Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.

VA Mental Health Services Guide – This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.

MakeTheConnection.net – information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.

RallyPoint – Talk to other Veterans online. Discuss: What are your feelings as the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan after 20 years of US involvement?

Download VA’s self-help apps – Tools to help deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) –  Request a Peer Mentor

VA Women Veterans Call Center – Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 6:30PM ET)

VA Caregiver Support Line – Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 5PM ET)

Together We Served –Find your battle buddies through unit pages

George W. Bush Institute – Need help or want to talk? Check In or call:1-630-522-4904 or email: checkin@veteranwellnessalliance.org

Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes – Join the Community

American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network – Peer Support and Mentoring

Team Red, White & Blue – Hundreds of events weekly. Find a chapter in your area.

Student Veterans of America – Find a campus chapter to connect with.

Team Rubicon – Find a local support squad.
Common Reactions
In reaction to current events in Afghanistan, Veterans may:

Feel frustrated, sad, helpless, grief or distressed
Feel angry or betrayed
Experience an increase in mental health symptoms like symptoms of PTSD or depression
Sleep poorly, drink more or use more drugs 
Try to avoid all reminders or media or shy away from social situations
Have more military and homecoming memories

Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service.

Veterans may feel like they need to expect and/or prepare for the worst. For example, they may:

Become overly protective, vigilant, and guarded
Become preoccupied by danger
Feel a need to avoid being shocked by, or unprepared for, what may happen in the future

Feeling distress is a normal reaction to negative events, especially ones that feel personal. It can be helpful to let yourself feel those feelings rather than try to avoid them. Often, these feelings will naturally run their course. If they continue without easing up or if you feel overwhelmed by them, the suggestions below can be helpful.

Strategies for Managing Ongoing Distress

At this moment, it may seem like all is lost, like your service or your sacrifices were for nothing. Consider the ways that your service made a difference, the impact it had on others’ lives or on your own life. Remember that now is just one moment in time and that things will continue to change.

It can be helpful to focus on the present and to engage in the activities that are most meaningful and valuable to you. Is there something you can do today that is important to you?  This can be as an individual, a family member, a parent, or a community member. Something that is meaningful to you in regard to your work or your spirituality? Such activities won’t change the past or the things you can’t control, but they can help life feel meaningful and reduce distress, despite the things you cannot change.

It can also help to consider your thinking. Ask yourself if your thoughts are helpful to you right now. Are there ways you can change your thinking to be more accurate and less distressing? For example, are you using extreme thinking where you see the situation as all bad or all good?  If so, try and think in less extreme terms. For example, rather than thinking “my service in Afghanistan was useless” consider instead “I helped keep Afghanistan safe.”

Finally, consider more general coping strategies that you may want to try including:

Engage in Positive Activities. Try to engage in positive, healthy, or meaningful activities, even if they are small, simple actions. Doing things that are rewarding, meaningful, or enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it, can make you feel better.

Stay Connected. Spend time with people who give you a sense of security, calm, or happiness, or those who best understand what you are going through.

Practice Good Self Care. Look for positive coping strategies that help you manage your emotions. Listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, journaling, or reading inspirational text are some simple ways to help manage overwhelming or distressing emotions.

Stick to Your Routines. It can be helpful to stick to a schedule for when you sleep, eat, work, and do other day-to-day activities.

Limit Media Exposure. Limit how much news you take in if media coverage is increasing your distress.

Use a mobile app. Consider one of VA’s self-help apps (see https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/) such as PTSD Coach which has tools that can help you deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.

PTSD Coach Online. A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.

If you develop your own ways of adapting to ongoing events and situations, you may gain a stronger sense of being able to deal with challenges, a greater sense of meaning or purpose, and an ability to mentor and support others in similar situations.

Please Do Not Disrespect the POW/MIA Flag

As a veteran of the United States Army, this infuriates me, but you shouldn’t have to be a military veteran to say that this is just unacceptable. Those that are replacing the POW/MIA flag with ANY OTHER FLAG are just plain wrong, even if it is their “right”.

Government officials and in this case, members of Congress work for We the People, and it’s our taxpayer dollars paying for the disrespect shown by replacing these flags.

Let’s put things into a little perspective on “rights”. If you work for Cummins, your employee would deny you the “right” to fly a Caterpillar flag outside of your office. I am a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan and love their memorabilia. Would I be ok with a Missouri congressman replacing the POW/MIA flag with my beloved Cardinals flag? Not a chance!!!

This is in no way meant to be threatening because it’s not – but it’s just not a very good idea to get on the wrong side of our military veterans.

Read below and learn something. It is not included to make my point, just a historical reference.

PROTOCOL FOR THE POW/MIA FLAG OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES

HOW TO DISPLAY THE POW/MIA FLAG OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES

The POW/MIA flag features a silhouette of a POW before a guard tower and barbed wire in white on a black field. “POW/MIA” appears above the silhouette and the words “You Are Not Forgotten” appear below in white on the black field. This black and white flag stands as a stark reminder of Americans still prisoner, missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia and is now accepted nationally and internationally as the symbol of vigilance and remembrance for all POW and MIA’s.

For an illustrated guide:   Protocol for POW-MIA flag
BASIC GUIDELINES

1. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG AND THE UNITED STATES FLAG WITH OTHER FLAGS ON THE SAME FLAGSTAFF

When flying the POW/MIA flag on the same flagstaff as the United States flag, the POW/MIA flag should fly immediately below the United States flag. If the United States flag and a state flag and/or other flag or pennant will be flown along with the POW/MIA flag on the same flagstaff, the order from top to bottom should be: the United States flag, the POW/MIA flag, then the state flag or other flags, unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.

2. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG AND OTHER FLAGS ON TWO ADJACENT FLAGSTAFFS

When flags are flown from two adjacent flagstaffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. The POW/MIA flag should be flown on the flagstaff with and below the flag of the United States, which should be at the peak of the flagstaff. The state flag (or other flag) on an adjacent flagstaff may not be placed above the flag of the United States or to its right (the viewer’s left) if the flagstaffs are of equal height.

3. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG AND OTHER FLAGS ON THREE ADJACENT FLAGSTAFFS OF UNEQUAL HEIGHT

When flags are flown from three adjacent flagstaffs of unequal height, the United States flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. The POW/MIA flag should be flown on the flagstaff to the right (the viewer’s left) of the United States flag. State and other flags should be flown from the third flagstaff, unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.

4. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG AND OTHER FLAGS ON ADJACENT FLAGSTAFFS OF EQUAL HEIGHT

When flags are flown from adjacent flagstaffs of equal height, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last and no other flag should be flown to its right (the viewer’s left). The POW/MIA flag should be flown on the flagstaff to the immediate left (the viewer’s right) of the United States flag and state or other flags flown farther left, unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.

5. MARCHING WITH THE POW/MIA FLAG

When the POW/MIA flag is carried in procession by itself, it should be carried front and center ahead of a marching unit. When carried in procession abreast with the United States flag, the POW/MIA flag should be on the marching left of the United States flag (top illustration). When a line of flags follow the United States flag, the US flag is centered on the line. The POW/MIA flag should be on the marching right of the line of flags (bottom illustration), unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.

6. POW/MIA FLAG AND UNITED STATES FLAG IN CROSSED-STAFF DISPLAY

When displayed with the United States flag in crossed-staff format, the United States flag should be on the viewer’s left with its staff on top of the staff of the POW/MIA flag.

7. POW/MIA FLAG DISPLAYED ON A WALL OR BEHIND SPEAKER

When the POW/MIA flag is displayed on wall, such as behind a speaker’s platform, the flag must be displayed as shown.

8. POW/MIA FLAG DISPLAYED ON SPEAKER’S PLATFORM WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG

When the POW/MIA flag is displayed with the United States flag on a speaker’s platform, the United States flag should be on the speaker’s right and the POW/MIA flag on the speaker’s left.

9. FLYING THE UNITED STATES AND POW/MIA FLAGS AT HALF-STAFF

When flying the United States and the POW/MIA flag at half-staff, they should first be elevated to peak position, held there momentarily, and then lowered to half-staff. At the day’s end, each should be again elevated to peak position before being lowered. If the flags are on different flagstaffs, the United States flag should be raised first and lowered last.

FEDERAL LAW ON FLYING THE POW/MIA FLAG

The Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 105-85, section 1082, signed by President Clinton on November 18, 1997, mandates that the U.S. Postal Service, the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, all national cemeteries in the Federal system, the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial must fly the POW/MIA flag on the following designated days each year:

  • Armed Forces Day—the third Saturday in May
  • Memorial Day—the last Monday in May
  • Flag Day—June 14th
  • Independence Day—July 4th
  • National POW/MIA Recognition Day—the third Friday in September
  • Veteran’s Day—November 11th

If any of these days fall on a non-business day, postal facilities are required to display the POW/MIA flag on the last business day before the designated day, as directed by Postal Bulletin 21967 dated March 12, 1998.

LEAGUE POLICY ON POW/MIA FLAG DISPLAY

For some time, there had been debate over when the POW/MIA flag should be flown, whether daily or on the specific six days noted in federal law. While not addressing the question of posting the flag at the national/federal level, League members at the 32nd Annual Meeting in June 2001, voted overwhelmingly in favor of the following resolution: “Be it RESOLVED that the National League of POW/MIA Families strongly recommends that state and municipal entities fly the POW/MIA flag daily to demonstrate continuing commitment to the goal of the fullest possible accounting of all personnel not yet returned to American soil.”

 
— Illustrated guide:   Protocol for POW-MIA flag

–Complete instructions for displaying and respecting the United States flag can be found in–

the publication The Flag Code from The American Legion, National Americanism

Commission, Indianapolis, IN, USA

 

http://www.pow-miafamilies.org/protocol-for-the-powmia-flag-of-the-national-league-of-families.html

New Feature “Anti-Christian News” To Start on EdBoston.com

An 84-year-old woman is being threatened with eviction from the California Veterans Home where she lives if she continues to host Bible studies there.

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is standing up for the religious rights of Artis Breau in this case.

“For much of the past decade, Artis has volunteered with the chaplaincy program and led Bible studies in the Home,” PJI reports. “She began encountering opposition from officials last September when it was claimed that a discussion between herself and another resident about heaven and hell had allegedly caused him to lose sleep and therefore was elder abuse, emotional abuse, and otherwise illegal.”

We are going to start a new weekly feature here at EdBoston.com called “Anti-Christian News”. The more that Christians ignore or are not informed of these types of incidents – the worse it will continue to get.

The purpose of this new feature will not be just to get Christians riled up but to put out information for Christians to share and get involved with helping fight for the God-given rights that we have.

This week we will just have one story but in the future, there will be multiple stories linked and sharable.

It’s time for the “silent majority” to no longer be silent AND to sit around and not take action when these things happen.

Here is this week’s Anti-Christian News:

H/T to CBN News:

‘Deeply Disturbing:’ 84-Year-Old Widow Faces Eviction from Veterans Home for Her Voluntary Bible Studies

PJI points out Artis and her husband both served the US military honorably throughout their lives:

“Artis and her late husband moved to the Veterans Home about nine years ago. Her husband had served as a Merchant Marine in World War II, served in the famed 82nd Airborne Division overseas, and then served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Meanwhile, Artis worked as a civilian employee in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army at the Pentagon during the Korean War.”

But officials are labeling her conversation with the other resident as “abuse.”

In December, her volunteer status at the home was suspended indefinitely and three months later she remains barred from serving in any official role.

“On Friday, March 1, PJI received an alarming e-mail from an attorney for CalVet, claiming Artis’ Bible studies were in violation of prior directives and would subject her to ‘involuntary discharge’ from the Home if they continued,” the PJI statement explains. “The Home claims it needs to protect residents from this elderly widow, even though attendance at her Bible studies is entirely voluntary.”

Meanwhile, Artis says that she’s been attacked because she’s “an evangelical Jewish believer in Jesus, which does not sit well with some of the chaplains.”

Brad Dacus, president of PJI, stated, “This shocking attack from the State against our client’s exercise of religious convictions is deeply disturbing. The State seeks to punish Artis based on non-existent directives and deprive her of a personal ministry to the veterans who have benefited from her religious services for years. Artis isn’t fighting just for herself, but for the Gospel and for the residents who are unable to fight for themselves against the State’s attempted intimidation.”

Attorneys are weighing all legal options in the case.

Two Heroes From “The Greatest Generation” George Bush and Bob Dole

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. To me, this pictures speaks volumes of “The Greatest Generation”. While they had been political allies and rivals, it was their service to our country that brings a smile to my face.

This week, with the passing of President George Bush, we have heard quite a bit of information about him flying numerous combat missions and about the time he was shot down by the Japanese, during WW II.

Bob Dole served on the other side of the globe during WW II. He suffered permanent injuries when he was hit by German machine gun fire near Castel d’Aiano in the Apennine mountains southwest of Bologna, Italy.

When I look at the picture above, there are several things that come into my mind.

First is that there is an American patriot and hero laying in State in a coffin covered by a flag that both Bush and Dole sacrificed greatly for.

Next, I see another American patriot and hero being helped to stand out of his wheelchair.

Also, you see a left-handed salute (salutes are to be given with the right hand). You see, Dole can not salute with his right hand due to the injuries mentioned earlier.

Bob Dole paid the ultimate respect between two veterans, first by standing when it is nearly impossible for him to do at this point in his life, and then rendering a salute the only way possible – with his left hand.

This is a very proud moment in American history and a memory that I have that will last a lifetime.

Ed Boston

Bob Dole

 

 

1Lt Michael Behenna In The News

The link below is a Fox News story that talks about the plight of our friend Michael Behenna.

Lt. Behenna’s parents have been on the podcast several times and we’ve covered this story almost from the very beginning.

Let’s pray that President Trump does the right thing and gives the hero a pardon.

www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/23/more-veterans-seek-trumps-pardon-for-combat-zone-convictions.html

Looks Like Nigel Farage and I Agree On WW II Heroes

If you know me very well at all, you know that I am very passionate about the heroes who saved the world as WW II veterans. The video below shows that Nigel Farage holds those same heroes from Great Britain in high regards as well.

Nigel Farage Demands Honours For Remaining Battle Of Britain Heroes

//player.ooyala.com/static/v4/stable/4.20.8/skin-plugin/iframe.html?ec=Y3aTBqZTE66qBQ_9WJOKHhO7NYg9w5ld&pbid=3c42758a1392415089daa0d272925bcf&pcode=lybG4xOtZ5VVs97XtFOmFWfHkY5g

President Trump’s Official Veteran’s Day Proclamation

Veterans Day, 2017

– – – – – – –

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Our veterans represent the very best of America. They have bravely answered the call to serve in the finest military force in the world, and they have earned the dignity that comes with wearing the uniform and defending our great flag. On Veterans Day, we honor all Americans who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, both in times of war and peace. For nearly 100 years, since the end of World War I, Veterans Day has given us a time to pay due respect to our veterans, who have passed the torch of liberty from one generation to the next.

Part of paying our respect means recommitting to our Nation’s sacred obligation to care for those who have protected the freedom we often take for granted. I have pledged to provide our service members with the best equipment, resources, and support in the world ‑‑ support that must continue after they return to civilian life as veterans. This is why veterans’ healthcare is a top priority for my Administration. I have signed legislation that improves accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and provides additional funding for the Veterans Choice Program, which ensures veterans continue to receive care in their communities from providers they trust. I have also signed legislation to give veterans GI Bill education benefits for their lifetime, and legislation to fix the VA appeals process, to ensure veterans can access the resources they are rightly due.

Additionally, this Veterans Day, more than 50 years from the beginning of the Vietnam War, I will be in Da Nang, Vietnam, with leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. As we discuss ways to improve economic relationships between the United States and Asia in a country where Americans and Vietnamese once fought a war, we are compelled to recall and recognize the sacrifices of the more than 8 million Vietnam veterans who served here, beginning with those who arrived in the first American troop deployment in 1965 and ending with those who fought through the cease-fire of 1973. These men and women dedicated themselves, during one of the most challenging periods in our history, to promoting freedom across the globe. Many spent years away from their loved ones as they endured the burdens of battle and some experienced profound pain and anguish as their fellow warriors, more than 50,000 of them, lost their lives. Some of these heroes have yet to return home, as 1,253 of America’s sons and daughters still remain missing. Along with our Vietnamese partners, however, we continue to work to account for them and to bring them home to American soil. We will not rest until that work is done.

With respect for, and in recognition of, the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation’s veterans. As Commander in Chief of our heroic Armed Forces, I humbly thank our veterans and their families as we remember and honor their service and their sacrifice.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2017, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the fortitude and sacrifice of our veterans through public ceremonies and private thoughts and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP