Since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, our country has taken great care to honor our returning veterans - and to mourn our fallen with dignity and respect.
America has come far since Vietnam: we have learned how to value the courage of war without glorifying its consequence. We understand now that men and women sent overseas on our behalf are our responsibility.
Our "troops" are our family, friends, and neighbors.
Sadly, over the past seven years our sometimes frenetic national attention-span has meant that we too soon forgot our wounded warriors. In similar fashion to the policies that lead to an increase in the number of veterans even as we were reducing their services - we looked at our wounded veterans without seeing the situation for what it is.
One of the ironies of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is that our medicine and technology have surpassed our ability to understand - outgrown our capacity to adjust to the new world science has made possible. Troops that would have died in the field just a few years ago survive the battle and in many cases - survive the war.
It is a new world; within this new world we must seek out opportunities that not only provide the brave with more than the medical assistance required to heal - but also the motivation to recover. It is our responsibility to seek out ways to lift up those that must learn to live with a constant reminder of the burdens of battle.
We have come upon just such an opportunity - and we need your help.
Next year Oregon will send a group of wounded veterans to the 2010 Paralympics. These games showcase how people with significant physical challenges overcame adversity - how real people rebuilt real lives.
Thanks in large measure to the generosity of The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde we have raised just over half of the funds required for the trip. Right now we can send one bus of wounded heroes (including food, lodging, and travel); we want to send two - or more. To afford this, we must raise another $25,000 before November.
There are hundreds if not thousands of alternatives for your disposable income. It is almost political season - and in this economy all of us must miser our resources cautiously. That said, few other programs will stretch your $50, $100, $250, or $500 gift as efficiently as this project will. All monies go straight to making an immeasurable impact in the lives of the men and women we can send to Vancouver, BC.
Please consider this opportunity and allow your conscience to guide your actions. The long path toward recovery begins with one dream - one special moment. Our wounded warriors have sacrificed for us; with your help, we can make this moment happen for them.
If you are interested in helping this project, please visit: www.operationhomefront.net (Oregon Chapter). Find the "Get a Vet in the Game" link and join the team.