Editorial| Volume 11, ISSUE 5, P8, October 2013

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Honoring Our Veterans

      Our country has a long history of being involved in multiple wars fought to establish and maintain our very precious heritage: freedom. Regardless of all the politics, changes, depressions, or recessions, freedom remains the most precious commodity. As a second-generation American, my grandparents suffered significant abuse because of their religious background. Although this country has had issues with equality due to slavery and often unexpressed prejudice, we manage to eventually do the right thing. This has been guaranteed at a great price: involvement in many wars that took the life of many of our young people who sacrificed for the sake of that freedom. Others have been able to survive the ravages of war but also at a significant price, whether physical, mental, or emotional. The needs have been both acute and extensive.
      Today, we continue to be involved in peacekeeping activities to protect American citizens and the human rights of many. Unfortunately, over the centuries, negotiation has not worked, and war has become a necessary evil. It is the armed forces who protect us and honor us, and the veterans, who over these centuries, have kept us viable. Many have died, hopefully, never in vain, and although I recall the Vietnam War and the shameful way we treated our returning veterans, we have learned to honor those who have given so much. Returning veterans must have the right to education, jobs, and excellent healthcare. The strain of being in war-torn zones takes a terrible toll both physically, emotionally, and mentally. Debilitating issues such as PTSD are relatively newly recognized phenomena, and the fallout from this is totally devastating. This is not to imply that physical wounds, amputations, head injuries, and so on are not equally devastating, it is just that PTSD is not visible and therefore not easily recognized and treated.
      In order to inform our nursing leaders of the heroic contributions that our veterans have made and their specialized healthcare needs, we have dedicated a special edition to inform, honor, and point out the needs of veterans and the roles nurses play in their day-to-day interventions.
      This edition is the first one Nurse Leader has published focusing on a particular issue. Our plan is to publish 1 issue a year that deals with a current topic that we are all facing and involved with, whether directly or indirectly. I am grateful to our guest editors, Linda Burnes Bolton and Elaine Cohen, who have ensured quality articles that will increase awareness as well as inform. Our nurses who work with these patients deserve the honor of respect and recognition. Thanks to each and every one of you.