(Via Fox News)A veteran says he was denied a ride on a New Jersey Transit bus because of his service dog. Daniel Wright, who served 11 years in the Marines and Army, suffers from PTSD. He doesn't go anywhere without his pit bull service dog, Tank.
The Purple Heart recipient said he has never had any issues traveling with Tank since he moved to Newark. However, that all changed this week for Wright when he tried to board a bus with his dog.
Wright said that the bus driver told him that dogs weren't allowed on the bus. He told the driver that Tank is a service dog and permitted to be on the bus with him.
The bus driver reportedly refused to allow Wright to board the bus with Tank, stating that "he didn't care."
Wright said he filed a formal complaint with NJ Transit, and officials said they have launched an investigation into his claim.
NJ Transit also released a statement that, in part, reads, "Service animals are permitted on board all of our modes: bus, rail, light rail, and Access Link, and we take our responsibility to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act very seriously."
Wright was able to get on another bus with Tank after showing the driver his military ID.
Wright said Monday morning on "Fox and Friends" that his service dog has changed his life.
"I love Tank," he said.
Do you think service dogs should be allowed on public transportation? Comment below and let us know.
The Military Veteran Project is a volunteer-driven charity committed to the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and suicide prevention. We believe #VeteransMatter: We take great care of the funds raised by our generous volunteers and supporters to direct every possible dollar to carefully selected programs. Whether it’s through our walk 4 the wounded events, partnerships or advocacy initiatives, our primary focus is to have the greatest impact for veterans and their families around the world.
We are able to operate because of the volunteers who give countless hours to carry on the mission and ensure that no veteran is ever left behind. With help from the Country Stampede, Senator Jerry Moran and Blake Shelton we were able to give back to those who have given so much.
Saturday night veteran volunteers lined the stage at the Country Stampede near Fort Riley, KS to be thanked for their service to our country and the community they live in.
Thank you to all of the Military Veteran Project volunteers around the world, who each day serve our veterans in need!
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Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old.
I am sorry that it has come to this.
The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.
You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.
I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.
My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.
You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.
To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.
Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.
Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.
However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.
Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.
It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.
And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for
Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.
Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.
I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.
The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.
Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it
This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried
I am free.
I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.
[Photo via Gettypremium]
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate the birth of our nation, but for many veterans the sounds of the celebration can bring back painful memories.
For combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fireworks can take them back to what they experienced during war.
“Sometimes those sounds are familiar,” said Dr. Chris Erbes, a clinical psychologist with the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. “They remind [veterans] of the sound of explosions, guns, that sort of thing, and that can bring about a lot of strong memories.”
He says the sound of fireworks can activate memories, and when the veteran goes to bed, those memories play out in their dreams.
Those dreams can be horrifying, Erbes says, like re-living war.
“I’ve had vets talk about, you know, ‘How am I going to get through the night?'” he said.
Some combat veterans are trying to educate their neighbors about the impact fireworks have on them by placing signs in their yards.
They want to start a conversation, not stop the celebration.
“Just let them know, cause one thing I’ve heard again and again from people I work with is: If I know the sound is coming, I’m fine with it,” Erbes said.
He added that veterans dealing with PTSD are not violent.
They just have these extra memories they carry around based on the things they did for our country.
“People with post-traumatic stress disorder aren’t going…to fly off the handle,” Erbes said. “They’re not going to attack you, they are not going to hurt you.”
To honor these veterans is to be respectful about when and where you set off your fireworks.
Enjoy the holiday but make sure those who fought for our freedoms can enjoy it, as well.
Erbes said veterans living with PTSD stay away from big fireworks displays. It’s the fireworks set off in neighborhoods that affect them the most.
The Military Veteran Project is teaming up with local VA hospitals to gift "Be Courteous of Fireworks, Combat Veteran lives here" signs to nearly 5,000 veterans.
You can make a difference today by donating to gift a sign to a combat veteran this 4th of July.
Your donation of $10 will gift 2 signs to veterans across the nation.
Your donation of $25 will gift 5 signs to veterans across the nation.
Your donation of $50 will gift 10 signs to veterans across the nation.
Your donation of $100 will gift 20 signs to veterans across the nation.
For the last two years, the Military Veteran Project has evolved into what you see today. A Volunteer Led Military Non Profit committed to the treatment of PTSD, TBI & Suicide Prevention. We are partnered with medical providers and facilities across the nation doing our best to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with alternative therapies while tapering down over medicated veterans. The Military Veteran Project has assisted in the diagnosis of nearly 200 traumatic brain injuries that were undiagnosed and able to return veterans back to the quality of life they deserve. How are we doing that? Read the article by Dr. Amen below on the new SPECT scan to find out.
In the largest functional brain imaging study published on 20,742 patients, researchers reported in a study published online in PLOS ONE today that SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography), a measure of blood flow and activity patterns in the brain, can reliably distinguish physical traumatic brain injury (TBI) from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The research was done by a collaborative team from Amen Clinics, UCLA, Thomas Jefferson University, and University of British Columbia on patient data gathered over the last 20 years.
The investigators used computer-based methods to measure blood flow and activity in 128 different brain regions when study subjects were at rest and when doing a mental task. The study then used a mathematical model to determine if the scans could tell apart TBI from PTSD from persons with both. This model was applied in separate groups with and without other mental health conditions with predictive sensitivity of SPECT in distinguishing PTSD from TBI of 80-100%.
SPECT can tell TBI and PTSD apart because these disorders affect the brain in different ways. TBI involves damage to the brain from direct blows or blast injuries, leading to reduced brain activity and blood flow. PTSD involves hyperactive reactions to different stimuli leading to brain scan patterns where blood flow is abnormally higher compared to TBI or normal health.
Daniel Amen, MD, a board certified psychiatrist who founded Amen Clinics and was the lead author on the study, said “This study can help millions of people who suffer with PTSD, TBI or both. Getting the right diagnosis is critical to getting the right help. Having a tool to better understand and separate them will help eliminate the guesswork that can lead clinicians down ineffective treatment paths.”
Canadian psychiatrist John Thornton, MD who was not a co-author on the study said, “Studies like this are the way forward for psychiatry. The ability to differentiate between PTSD and TBI is very important clinically as the treatments are different.”
Dan Silverman, MD, PhD, Chief of Neuro-Nuclear Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, also not involved with the study noted the importance of the study by commenting, “This publication may pave the way for future studies that prospectively apply functional brain imaging in a variety of psychiatric disorders in general and PTSD and TBI in particular.”
Over 7.7 million people suffer from PTSD at any given point in time and there are over 2 million new brain injuries every year in the U.S. Military veterans are especially vulnerable, with 400,000 of them suffering from PTSD, TBI, or both. Additional sources cited in the paper note the annual cost of PTSD alone is at least 4 billion dollars per year.
For each veteran we treat, there are one hundred on the waiting list. We rely solely on donations to treat and assist veterans in need. The Military Veteran Project is currently working on plans to build a treatment & resource facility for pre & post 9/11 veterans but need your help to continue the mission.
No donations are too small, even $1 can help a veteran in need today. Not able to donate, but want to keep up to date, CLICK HERE to sign up for monthly progress reports.
An undisclosed number of veterans are returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In time, this may lead to several prescribed medications, a disconnect from family and friends, and, as Cody Austill says in the video below, a feeling of disappearance.
But now there may be an alternative treatment for these returning soldiers, called Float Therapy. Float Therapy, as the name hints at, promotes relaxation through a feeling of weightlessness, achieved simply by mixing water and Epsom salt.
Right now, the Military Veteran Project is compiling research & treatment data about alternative therapies for post traumatic stress disorder. 70% of veterans who have been diagnosed have been able to be tapered down on their medication and supplement "float therapy" into their routine to assist them with their daily schedule.
STANDARDS of RESPECT
The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:
The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well. Contact your local American Legion Hall or Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service.
Displaying the Flag OutdoorsWhen the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.
When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right.
..The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
..No other flag ever should be placed above it.
..The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.
Raising and Lowering the FlagThe flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.
Displaying the Flag IndoorsWhen on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.
Parading and Saluting the FlagWhen carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.
The Pledge of Allegiance and National AnthemThe pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.
When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.
The Flag in MourningTo place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.
The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.