The Largest Traveling Wall
The Vietnam Wall That Heals is
traveling to Colorado in May
by Geraldine Treacy
Stop by and say hi to the proud committee of the History and Heroes foundation who will be traveling from Estes Park to Fort Collins this weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) to participate in the exhibition of the traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial, The Wall That Heals. The wall is 80% the size of the original wall in Washington, D.C. It is a chance to remember all the soldiers that died for our freedom. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has visited more than 350 cities and towns throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial's healing legacy to millions. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for (Missing In Action) during the War.
Bringing The Wall home to communities throughout our country allows the souls enshrined on the Memorial to exist once more among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings. The traveling exhibit, known as The Wall That Heals, allows the many thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing The Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin. Exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.
Its construction and related issues have been the source of controversies, some of which have resulted in additions to the memorial complex. The memorial currently consists of three separate parts:
Vietnam veteran John Devitt of Stockton, California, attended the 1982 dedication ceremonies of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Recognizing what he saw as the healing nature of the Wall, he vowed to make a transportable version of the Wall, a "Traveling Wall" so those who were not able to travel to Washington, D.C. would be able to see and touch the names of friends or loved ones in their own home town. There were 58,000 American casualties in the Vietnam War including women serving as nurses and doctors.
The Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado is proud to host the Vietnam Wall Memorial at 2727 W. Horsetooth Road in Fort Collins. The following is the schedule for next weekend, Friday, May 24, Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26:
May 24: The Huey Gunship arrives. It was the first turbine-powered helicopter to enter production for the United States military. At 7:00 p.m. there will be a bagpiper, taps, prayer, 21-gun salute.
May 25: Official Ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at 2:00 p.m. is the Ride of the Wall. At 7:00 p.m. there will be a bagpiper, taps, prayer, 21-gun salute. Twelve vendors, including food vendors who are Veteran related will be there. Special permit parking on west side.
Keynote speaker is Lieutenant General John Myers
May 26: At 6:00 p.m. Vietnam Vets will tell their stories. At 7:00 p.m. – bagpiper, Taps, prayer, 21-gun salute.
Whether you believed in the Vietnam War or not, this event will honor those who valiantly served our country, those young men and women who loved their country and believed in their sacrifice.
Now that I am a volunteer with the Estes Park veteran’s organization History and Heroes and am the grandmother of an Iraq veteran, I wondered what, if any, is the difference between vetarans of Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan veterans? According to The New England Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, West Haven, Connecticut, The Iraq/Afghanistan veterans differ most notably from Vietnam veterans by being younger, more likely to be female, less likely to be either married or separated/divorced, more often working, less likely to have ever been incarcerated, and less likely to report exposure to atrocities in the military.
Regarding clinical status, Iraq/Afghanistan veterans were less often diagnosed with substance abuse disorders, manifested more violent behavior, and had lower rates of VA disability compensation because of PTSD. Among recent war veterans with PTSD, social functioning has largely been left intact. There is a window of opportunity, therefore, for developing and focusing on treatment interventions that emphasize the preservation of these social assets. Not a lot of attention has been given to the brave women who have served and sacrificed for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan and yet currently they represent the highest number of the homeless segment in our country, even those with children. This tragic situation is overwhelmingly the result of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
What exactly is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition created by exposure to a psychologically distressing event outside the range of usual human experience, one which would be markedly distressing to almost anyone, and which causes intense fear, terror, and helplessness.
A woman veteran’s description: “PTSD is insidious; it creeps up on you. First, you may experience a moment of panic when you are in a crowded area. For most of ‘us,’ Wal-Mart is a PTSD nightmare. You may startle easy, way too easily. You’ll never be able to sit with your back to a door or respond in a ‘normal’ manner to someone who catches you off guard. If you don’t relive the experience during the day, your psyche ensures that you work through your issue at night in the form of sheet-tangling, sweat-soaked nightmares that no one should have to endure. These are the nightmares that wake you from the deepest sleep and cast a dark gloom over the whole of the next day.”
And thirty-one percent of women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder reported military sexual trauma.
What is MST (Military Sexual Trauma)?
"Military sexual trauma" or MST is the term used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to refer to experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment. For some Veterans, experiences of MST may continue to affect their mental and physical health, even many years later.
Defense department stats: Even though women are technically restricted to combat support roles, in practice they see combat, carry weapons, witness killing and are generally exposed to much more trauma than women in earlier wars.
This is why the veteran’s organization “History and Heroes” is honored to announce the first Annual Women Veterans Rocky Mountain Retreat to be held on October 4-6, 2013 at the YMCA of the Rockies. The purpose of the retreat is to provide a healing environment to help the many female veterans transition back to society. The two-night retreat will include lodging, six meals, healing-touch massage, yoga and equine therapy. Contact with horses and service dogs provide veterans with a source of unconditional positive regard which helps in relaxation and breathing techniques to deal with high levels of anxiety associated with PTSD and MST. Jessa Johnson, an Estes Park resident and a self-love coach will be available to speak with veterans.
Seminars at the retreat will be led by Ralph Bozella, President of the United Veterans Committee of Colorado who will discuss “What female veterans wants in VA health care.” Dr. Janet Seahorn PhD and Anthony Seahorn MBA, authors of “Tears of a Warrior: a Family’s Story of Combat and Living with PTSD” will present a seminar on living with PTSD.
Rev. Dr. Kathy Haley, a licensed professional counselor, a disabled veteran, an ordained minister and a certified professional service dog trainer will conduct a seminar on the connection between spirituality and trauma, as well as the value of service animals. She will be accompanied by her service dog Arkeo.
Terri Shelefontiuk, Chairman of Female Veterans Action Committee for the American Legion Department of Colorado will present Colorado Resources for Female Veterans and Rehabilitation.
Carol Kennedy is expected to be elected Commander of The American Legion Department of Colorado is planning to attend and will remark on the Value of Female Veterans in Service Organizations. Katie Barr, MST Coordinator for Denver VA Hospital will conduct a seminar on MST.
History and Heroes is very proud to be able to include all of these professionals in the retreat. The overwhelming beauty and relaxation of the scenery in Estes Park is therapeutic within itself. The retreat will provide personal time for nature hikes and a chance to enjoy nature in the Rocky Mountains.
WOMEN VETERANS: You may register for the First Annual Women Veterans Retreat of the Rocky Mountains below on this page, or call (970) 682-9985. The cost of the retreat for women veterans is $50 and includes three days, two-nights of lodging, six meals, presentations by guest speakers, and therapeutic massage and horseback riding. If the cost to attend the retreat is an issue, there are No-Questions-Asked scholarships available.
SPONSOR A WOMAN VETERAN, help us to heal our heroes. They served and sacrificed for us. This is an opportunity to show our appreciation and help them on their road to recovery.
Because we are a 501©3 non-profit agency, your gift is fully tax deductible.
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Cost of the retreat is $50 per person and includes a double occupancy room, 2 night 3 days, 6 meals, all therapeutic horseback rides, massages, hikes and all speaker sessionsare included.
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