Today is Memorial Day! I’d Like to remember that RTP was founded in 1941 by Josephine Herick with the mission to help our wounded soldiers using photography as a unique form of therapy. In 1942, volunteers were commissioned by the U.S. military to teach photography skills at over 50 locations around the country. Portable darkrooms were also designed so that bed-bound patients could also partake in the photography sessions a well as learn to develop and print the photos they had taken.
RTP continues totransform lives through the power of photography and will be announcing a new Veteran’s Program shortly
I read a a great article today by Dave Helfert, Professor of Political Communicationa at John Hopkins University who reminds us to “take just a minute to honor those who fought in our wars and lived. For many, their battles are far from over.”
Thank you to all who have served our country!
Jackie Augustine, President, RTP Board of Directors
Memorial Day: Honor the Fallen, Remember the Living
By Dave Helfert – Professor of Political Communication, Johns Hopkins University – www.huffingtonpost.com
In 1868, the nation set aside the last Monday in May to remember and honor those who had died in her battles. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and people placed wreaths and bouquets on the graves of the fallen from the Civil War.
One hundred forty-four years later — seven declared or undeclared wars and dozens of incursions, clashes and confrontations since Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse — it’s still fitting and proper to honor the fallen. But it is every bit as fitting and proper to honor those who have been scarred, visibly or invisibly, by combat. Many combat wounds don’t show, and yet the invisible scars can be every bit as painful, every bit as debilitating, last as long and hurt as deeply as any physical injury.
Today it’s called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It’s been around as long as war itself. Greek soldiers in the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. experienced it on the battlefield and after they’d returned home. In our own country’s history, thousands and thousands of Civil War veterans suffered from “soldier’s heart.” In WWI, WWII and Korea, it was called shell shock or combat fatigue. During the Vietnam War, the military didn’t want to admit that anything was wrong. So lots of retuning vets went undiagnosed and were just considered weird or screwed up when they came home.
PTSD wasn’t acknowledged and listed in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until 1980. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, the authoritative medical classification list published by the World Health Organization to code diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases, did not list PTSD until 1992.
And now we have new generations of Americans who have witnessed the abject horror of war and its effect on even the strongest human spirit. They understand the brain-numbing reality of living every hour of every day knowing you could be killed or maimed at almost any time. They understand that to survive in war, you have to be able to kill other people and make incredible deals with yourself to make it okay. They understand that you have to demonize the enemy, even minimize their humanity and turn them into less than people because that makes it easier to kill them. They may have experienced the shock and white-hot anger at losing a buddy. And they assuredly understand that, when snipers have your unit pinned down, or IEDs are detonating, or when you’re in the middle of a firefight, all the speeches about building a democracy or keeping the world safe from terrorism are bilious BS. They understand that, in war, the world doesn’t extend beyond them and their immediate comrades.