Today we look back on one of the most fatal attacks on U.S. soil. 74 years ago Imperial Japan attacked the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor with a barrage of planes and submarines killing 2,402 American soldiers. Franklin Deleno Roosevelt called it “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.” The attack on Pearl Harbor along with a few other variables pushed the United States into World War II. After Allied Powers claimed victory at the end of World War II, the United States brought many of its Armed Forces home from the Pacific and Europe who had been exposed to the horrors of war for long periods of time. It is estimated that over 25% of casualties suffered by the American forces were due to psychological issues.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 1 in 5 soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) also suffer from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). It was a problem 70 years ago at the end of World War II, and it is still a widespread problem today. Unfortunately the negative stigma that comes with drug and alcohol abuse keeps many veterans and current soldiers from seeking assistance with their problem, even though the Department of Veteran Affairs offers help for both substance abuse and PTSD.
War is not only a physical war, but a psychological battle that can cause many issues.. These mental issues can harm a veteran and their loved ones for the rest of their lives. During World War I, these psychological problems were commonly called Shell-Shock. After World War II, the name was changed to Combat Stress Reaction. CSR is a precursor, and very often leads PTSD.
Today, a memorial floats on the water of Pearl Harbor above the USS Arizona and is visited by over 1 million visitors a year. Over half of the American deaths that occurred on December 7, 1941 were soldiers aboard the Arizona. On this day when we look back, we must also look forward on how we can help future veterans. If we want to assist veterans who are struggling with PTSD or substance abuse, we must spread awareness of the problem. We must remove the stigma and aid those who need help and support. If we can do this, perhaps we may be able to save the lives of veterans and soldiers for years to come.
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