Honoring All Who Served at Killeen’s Veterans Day Parade
Defending the Service Members’ and Veterans Right to Heal from Invisible Wounds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
When: Saturday, November 10th, 2012
Time: 9:15am to 10:15am, then joining City of Killeen Veterans Day Parade at 11am
Location: Fort Hood East Gate (Rancier & Fort Hood Street)
Killeen, Texas- A group of service members, veterans and community supporters from Under the Hood Café and Outreach Center will be participating in the City of Killeen Veterans Day Parade to “Honor All Who Served”. The group will converge at 9:15am at the East Gate, and join parade beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, to emphasize the widespread lack of adequate medical care, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and rising suicide rates among active duty and veteran populations.
“It’s easy to remember the veterans coming home on planes and impossible to forget those coming back in boxes. It’s those locked up at home with mounding prescriptions, those falling into the judicial system and those dying senseless accidents that are being forgotten,” said Malachi Muncy, a Ft. Hood Iraq veteran participating in the parade.
In 2010, suicide rates among active-duty troops were twice as high as that of the civilian population, and veterans with PTSD are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide. Of the more than 2.3 million service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the last 11 years, only 65% are eligible for Veterans Administration healthcare. Of those, 52% are treated for mental health conditions. Over 700,000 returning veterans with PTSD will be returning home in the next few years will be in need of treatment and support.
“Honoring all who serve means respecting service member’s right to heal. Acknowledging the issues that affect veterans is part of honoring their service and the idea that veterans’ issues can be too controversial to acknowledge feeds into a culture of silence and stigma. We want to break that silence and elevate their voices to Congress so these issues can be adequately addressed” said Lori Hurlebaus, Director of Under the Hood Café and Outreach Center.
At this year’s parade, the City of Killeen has officially cited “Units of political/controversial nature are not allowed”. Due to concern that parade officials might misinterpret the compelling visual nature of their float and expel their participation as a ‘political or controversial in nature’, the group will also be at Ft. Hood’s East Gate before the parade starting at 9:15am. At last year’s City of Killeen’s Veterans Day Parade, the group walked the parade carrying duffel bags labeled, “PTSD”, “TBI”, MST and “stigma.” It is unclear whether the parade organizers viewed the group’s 2011 participation as controversial or political in nature because this rule did not exist.
The effort is organized by The Under the Hood Café and Outreach Center, a place where soldiers, families, friends and community members can socialize, get information on service members’ and veterans rights, get referrals for legal and wellness services and participate in creative workshops. For more information go to www.underthehoodcafe.org.
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