Max Cleland: Helping Soldiers Heal

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Yesterday, the fifth of October, I posted up a Parade Magazine article I found on Max Cleland and his new book {on my site and a few open threads etc.}. This morning I heard a short, but real good, interview on NPR’s Morning Edition {below with links}, that should be added to the Parade article. This, while short, was a pretty good interview as Max hit’s on a number of issues but unable to delve deeper. Here’s hoping as he has started to promote the book that we get to hear and see longer more in depth interviews, I for one hope so, not only because of the brotherhood of us ‘Nam Vets and the whole Veterans community, but because Max doesn’t hold back, never did, and speaks with feeling and conviction.

Former Sen. Max Cleland (D., Ga.) lost his legs and one arm in the Vietnam War. More than 30 years later, he returned to Walter Reed to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His new book, “Heart of a Patriot:” begins with an open letter to America’s soldiers, urging them to seek help when they need it.

What are the chief obstacles for a soldier seeking treatment for PTSD?..>>>>>The Rest Found Here

Max’s Book: “Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove”

October 6, 2009

Courtesy of The Max Cleland Collection, duPont-Ball Library, Stetson University

Max Cleland reads Arthur Schlesinger’s biography of John F. Kennedy, A Thousand Days, while recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1968.

As a boy growing up in a small town in Georgia, Max Cleland, a former Democratic senator from Georgia, was inspired by the adventures of the Lone Ranger on his TV screen.

Just as the Lone Ranger was motivated by a sense of duty, so was Cleland. As he tells NPR’s Renee Montagne, Cleland’s parents raised him “to be an eagle, not a sparrow.” When he was in college, he joined the ROTC and volunteered to go to war in Vietnam. There, he was brutally maimed by a grenade that a fellow soldier dropped accidentally. The explosion took away both of his legs and his right arm.

In his new memoir, “Heart of a Patriot”, Cleland recalls that moment, and how he overcame the trauma it caused. The book is subtitled “How I Found The Courage To Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove.”…>>>>>Read the Rest Here

Scrolling down the page, in reading the above as I listened once again to the interview, this one not that long, you find an excerpt from his book which, as mentioned in the Parade article, he opens it up with, “An Open Letter to America’s Veterans”. As a brother ‘Nam Vet to Max I feel it would be a great letter for todays returning veterans, of these two long running occupations, to read, as we go into the ninth year in Afghanistan and the eighth in Iraq.

Excerpt: ‘Heart Of A Patriot’

by Max Cleland


An Open Letter to America’s Veterans

America sends the flower of its youth abroad to fight its wars. Because of that, America’s military is always staffed with the stoutest, finest, most courageous people in the country. If as soldiers we are not that way when we enter the military, the military makes us that way by the time we get out. In the end, the military is still made up of everyday people like you and me. As such, most of us have no special skills to cope with the challenges wartime military service presents. Regular life simply cannot prepare a person for the brutish sensory overload of combat.

Coming back from military service in a time of war, we may be wounded in ways that don’t show to the world at large. Some of the deepest wounds we suffer may be inflicted without leaving so much as a scratch. No matter what you are feeling when you come home, no matter how crazy you feel inside, know that you are not mentally ill. As combat veterans, we have been through some of the most traumatic life experiences possible. War is as close to hell on earth as anything ever could be. That does make us different from our loved ones back home. War marks us all, some more deeply than others…..>>>>>Read the Rest Here

Veteran or not, Military or not, everyone will get a bit of better understanding when reading Max’s Letter! Well maybe not everyone, the denier’s will still denie, the apathetic will shrug and move on, and the arrogant will just continue to be!


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    • jimstaro on October 6, 2009 at 18:47

    Information on VA Education Benefit Advance Payments

    VA Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth explains the process for obtaining VA education benefit advance payments. For more information, visit the Advance Pay Website. See This Link for the Section 508 compliant version of this video.


    • jimstaro on October 6, 2009 at 21:53

    Second interview, NPR Freshair 10.06.09

    Max Cleland, Mapping The ‘Heart of a Patriot’

  1. I’ve found in my own life that I had to exude positive energy into the world in order not to be overwhelmed with sadness and grief over what I have lost. My body, my soul, my spirit, and my belief in life itself were stolen from me by the disaster of the Vietnam War. I found solace in attempting to “turn my pain into somebody else’s gain” by immersing myself in politics and public service. In particular, I devoted myself to helping my fellow veterans and disabled friends heal. This was a great help to me in my life. But when I lost my reelection bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002, my life fell apart. The staff that had helped me politically and physically so I could keep on running with no legs was gone. The pleasure of having a job worth doing and the money to keep me afloat were gone.

    My relationships began to crumble, especially the one with my fiancee.

    I went down in my life in every way it is possible to go down. Massive depression took over. I went down with a grief over my losses that I had never known before. I went down thinking that God was not for me anymore. I no longer wanted to live. With the start of the Iraq War, my own post-traumatic stress disorder came roaring back nearly 40 years after I was in combat. I never saw it coming. Thoughts of war and death simply consumed me. I thought I was past that.

    Max is a great and very caring guy. I can say no more because I’m really angry thinking about that race and that’s not what this diary is about.

    Thanks for the heads up on the book and for all the diaries.

  2. Max Cleland.

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