HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The events out of Afghanistan are at the forefront of many people’s minds right now, but it’s nothing compared to what servicemen and women are going through.
Thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghans are seeking refuge from Taliban control, and the photos and videos coming out of the country are stirring up memories and emotions for veterans.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs says at its peak, there were more than 100,000 U.S. Troops in Afghanistan in 2010. The V.A. says those who served there and in other wars may now be reliving their time in service, especially those suffering from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
News 19 spoke with Senior Vice Commander Bobby Lee with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2702 based in Huntsville about the mental health concerns.
He’s a retired Army Sergeant Major and served the United States Army for nearly 40 years. Lee says the news out of Afghanistan is stirring up a lot of emotions right now for veterans.
“Every soldier, sailor, marine, airman, and coast guardsman that has served is now questioning: Was it worth it?” he said.
Lee goes on to say a lot of soldiers and veterans are looking for ways to express their anger, hurt, and confusion right now. Red flags they may experience include displaying short tempers or becoming anti-social. His number one piece of advice for friends and family is to just be there.
“Listen,” said Lee. “Be supportive. Give your time… Don’t try to fix it.”
He says many friends and family try to fix the problem, but the emotions veterans are dealing with right now aren’t necessarily fixable quickly. He says it takes time.
But even though it may take time, Lee also says there are resources and groups available to help including the VFW.
Post 2702 meets every Tuesday night at 2900 North Memorial Parkway around 4:30 pm or 5:00 pm. Lee says they are simply there to meet and listen to each other.