Consider this plan with an open mindPublished 8:53pm Saturday, September 8, 2012
With American troops now preparing to complete their 11th consecutive year fighting in conflicts abroad, there remains no doubt about their brave and commendable commitment to serving their nation in the military. Nonetheless, the strain is starting to show.views
According to the Department of Defense’s Defense Casualty Analysis System, there have been 6,580 hostile and non-hostile military fatalities among U.S. troops since October of 2001, when the United States retaliated in Afghanistan for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The number of wounded, as in all wars, has been far higher. According to the same source, since October 2001, more than 49,771 troops have been wounded in action during that period.
Attesting to the nature of the improvised explosive devices, which present some of the most potent dangers to those troops, many of the injured have come home missing limbs. Many others, exposed to multiple tours of duty with all-too-brief postings back home, find themselves unable to cope with the shock of leaving the war zone and returning to an indescribably different culture back in the States. The trouble some have making that transition may have been one of the factors in a recent spike in suicides among active-duty soldiers — compared both to the civilian population and to previous Army data.
A group of siblings whose mother left them property along Route 58 in Suffolk wants to do something to help these veterans get reintegrated into society when they return home. Buddy Joyner said he and his four siblings decided to pursue the unique project when their mother, an amputee, died leaving behind 67 acres of land near U.S. Route 58.
Plans for the Veterans’ Care Initiative, as the project is dubbed, include single-family homes, townhouses and apartments, a “healing center,” and employment opportunities to get wounded warriors back in the workforce and self-reliant again.
There is still a long way to go before the plans can be realized. Permits must be secured, zoning approval must be granted and investors must come forward to help. But because of the debt America owes its troops, this is a plan worthy of careful consideration and wide latitude. We hope those who are pitching it will find that Suffolk officials and neighbors have open minds and thankful hearts.