Substance abuse. Violence. Even thoughts of suicide. These are some of the problems that many veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with.
Today it's called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, but it has affected veterans going back much farther. While doctors and researchers put enormous efforts into developing new treatments, one group of veterans in Salt Lake City is finding relief in a very old tradition: a Native American sweat lodge.
Vietnam veterans never got the homecoming many feel they deserved. On Monday, a group of veterans, the Department of Defense and others will begin the first of many ceremonies to honor those who served and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War. Events will be planned over the next 13 years, concluding with the fall of Saigon. Many will gather Monday at the Vietnam Memorial Wall for a wreath ceremony, including President Obama.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
The soldier's motto is leave no man behind. And one very visible symbol of that promise is the bracelet worn by many Americans to honor a prisoner of war or a service member missing in action. One bracelet created a rare bond between two people. Both had lost a close family member in service overseas. On this Memorial Day, here's Curt Nickisch of member station WBUR.
Returning now to veterans on this Memorial Day weekend. Close to one out of two veterans who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan have now filed disability claims for service-related injuries - everything from hearing loss and back problems to mental health claims like PTSD. The percentage of vets making claims now is more than double the rate of previous wars. The total cost could eventually come to close to a trillion dollars.
Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reported on the staggering increase and what might explain it.