Veterans Day ceremonies across the country honor the nation’s current and former service members. The holiday marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Young veterans easing back into life after war
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun
5:14 p.m. EST, November 10, 2012
Joseph Bathgate calls them “the Hollywood questions.”
When college classmates learn he was a machine gunner for the Marine Corps for two tours in Iraq, they want to know: Did anyone ever shoot at you? Ever get hit?
And there’s the big one.
You ever kill anyone?
“It’s unusual, I understand that, what I’ve done,” says Bathgate, 24, of Dundalk, now out of the military and studying kinesiology at Towson University. “Still, it’s annoying. … Naturally, I feel different” from the other, mostly younger students on campus.
It’s a feeling shared by many. More than a decade of war has minted a new generation of veterans: Two and a half million Americans have served in Iraq or Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001.
The challenges now confronting some of them are well-documented: limbs lost, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury; an unemployment rate greater than the national average; an alarming incidence of suicide.
But others describe a more subtle challenge: the difficulty of returning to civilian life in a society that generally appreciates their service — but doesn’t always understand it.