Friday, January 9, 2009

No Purple Heart for PTSD

The New York Times:

The Pentagon has decided that it will not award the Purple Heart, the hallowed medal given to those wounded or killed by enemy action, to war veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because it is not a physical wound. 

Chris Ramirez for The New York Times

The Purple Heart will be given for physical wounds only.

The decision, made public on Tuesday, for now ends the hope of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have the condition and believed that the Purple Hearts could honor their sacrifice and help remove some of the stigma associated with the condition.

In June 2008 I wrote about a 22-year-old returning Iraq War Veteran from Newark, Ohio charged with killing his 3-year-old stepson. Corey S. Flugga, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas,  stood emotionless as he was read the murder charge.  At the trial, Family members have said he suffered a traumatic brain injury in August 2006 while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He was later awarded the Purple Heart. Yesterday a judge sentenced. Flugga to 15 years to life in prison. At his trial, he denied  the charge.  He said, "I don't think anyone could do anything that would make me do that to one of my boys. I don't think either one of them could do anything to make me do that to them."  

The title of my June writing was, Heal the Warrior Before He Returns Home I recall that the great American mythologist, Joseph Campbell, often mentioned  'the warrior' in his works and the need to heal the warrior after the battle. 

It is interesting in a pitiful way to note that on the 'All American Bowl' section of the U.S. Army website, Specialist Flugga is quoted as saying, " By training and fighting for the Army, not only have I become a better, stronger Soldier, I have also become a better husband, father, and friend."

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