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    Posted December 3, 2013 by
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    It's time to BE CREATIVE.

    Millions of young Americans have volunteered to serve in the United States Armed Forces. Of the millions that serve, many thousands have had direct combat experience. And although they survived the various wars and military campaigns, their lives and the lives of those around them are yet threatened. According to a recent report released by the Department of Veteran Affairs, nearly 30% of the patients treated in VA Clinics, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    The military has done a good job of helping these men and women with the financial, occupational and medical quality of their lives, but the emotional, psychological and mental toll of combat has not been fully addressed. Many of these soldiers and their families have already paid a heavy price. I believe we should take a 360 degree approach towards caring for our veterans.

    This approach should include providing creative outlets and direct artistic experiences for these wounded warriors. Perhaps we can accelerate the recovery process through expressive dance, experience-based theater, painting or other forms of art the veterans can use as an outlet for their pain; to share their feelings, to examine broken places in their American Dream.

    They fought for us, now we can fight for them.

    Additional Context:

    My father, Arthur Woodson Page, was among the men whose life was forever altered by his experience in the military. He joined the US Army in 1969, and later that year was stationed at the Fort Gordon Army Base near Augusta, GA. It was there that he met my mom. As she recalls, they had a beautiful romance. She fell head-over-heels in love with this charismatic, highly intelligent, handsome man from Detroit, Michigan. She knew...they knew this was it and shortly thereafter were married. They had great plans for what their life could be but, their American Dream was cut short.

    Soon after their small ceremony in the front yard of her father's house, my mom became pregnant. During this time "Art" Page was nearing the completion of his training and knew he was to be sent overseas. He went to Vietnam, but he never came back. He wasn't killed in combat, his death was was slower, more painful.

    My father came back from that war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Of course the world did not know as much about PTSD during that time as we are beginning to know now. So shortly after his return, having lost important pieces of himself in the jungle, his life was profoundly different. My mom did all she could to be supportive, to no avail. He wanted to be alone.

    Most of his life after Vietnam, Arthur Woodson Page had little contact with anyone, including his parents, his siblings, his wife or his only child: Anthony R. Page. My parents separated and I, yet under a year old, would not know my father until I was 26 years old. In my life I only had three occasions to interact with him before his death. He died, alone and was discovered more than a week after the smell had begun to emerge from his apartment. Arthur Woodson Page began to die 40 years ago but wasn't laid to rest until August of 2011. I lost my father and my mother lost her husband, to the Vietnam War.

    It's time to be creative America. It's time to BE CREATIVE.

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