Heartwrenching Video: A Soldier’s Last & Final Wish.

Via on Apr 15, 2013

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“A lot of you cared, just not enough.”~ Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

Tomas Young has been paraplegic since an insurgent attack in 2004 in Sadr City. On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, Tomas penned a letter to former President Bush and Vice President Cheney; that letter was featured in an elephant journal article, “Separating the ‘War’ from the ‘Warrior’—A Dying Soldier’s Open Letter to former President Bush.”

For the past nine years, Tomas has been suffering from the excruciating pain of his injuries. And in 2008, when a blood clot traveled to his lung and severely affected his brain function, Tomas began what many soldiers describe as his last and final stand.

At the surface, this story seems to be telling the tale of just one soldier, Tomas Young, and his journey from 9/11 to present day. But this story goes much deeper; within its pages a more horrifying story emerges.

In 2012, 349 U.S. veterans and 167 additional active duty soldiers committed suicide; most suffering the innermost impacts of the horrors of war and the longer-term devastation of a government system ill-equipped to provide for the needs of our fallen heroes.

And though the military has sought to improve response to mental health issues, when more soldiers are killed by their own hand—rather than ‘in action’—something much more needs to be done.

I had the honor of working with a most amazing gentleman, LTC Victor Won, who during one most wonderful conversation described his personal efforts to help provide the tools for soldiers and families to survive. In an interview in the U.S. Army News, this Army officer who sacrifices his own personal time to care for these individuals, describes the goal in his ‘mindfulness training,’

“What I am trying to teach people to do is to take a purposeful pause throughout the day just to come back and be more present,” Won said. “Simply, it is about bringing our attention to the present, bringing our awareness, becoming more conscious of our life without judgment.”

The training, which was a mix of yoga and meditation, provided a much needed tool for individuals to combat stress.

“That will give you the power to work with stress,” Won said. “You will have the choice to act rather than react.”

In speaking with him, and through my own personal beliefs, I believe it’s high time we gave our soldiers the very best tools when they head into combat. Perhaps this might include making this type of training a standard part of the curriculum for new soldiers. Or, perhaps it means more people like LTC Won might invest more of their own time bringing the tools to veterans.

But, no matter what, we must do something, because something must be done.

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Ed: Brianna Bemel

About Tara Lemieux

Tara Lemieux is a mindful wanderer, and faithful stargazer. She is an ardent explorer and lover of finding things previously undiscovered (or, at the very least, mostly not-uncovered.) When she’s not writing, you can find her walking in the woods and sometimes changing the way we look at things, one simple moment at a time. You can contact her at via her website Mindfully Musing or, take one second to "LIKE" her on Facebook at Tara's Facebook Page. Or email her directly at tara@taralemieux.com. All roads will lead to one home, and rest assured she (and Nudnick, the wonder dog) would LOVE to hear from you.

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One Response to “Heartwrenching Video: A Soldier’s Last & Final Wish.”

  1. Natalie Baginski says:

    There's a new study, just published in the last week or two, that shows transcendental meditation works wonders on PTSD. Congolese refugees that were raped, tortured and witnessed the murder of their families were asymptomatic within 30 days. I can send you the study if you want. There are three major studies on TM and PTSD, one with Iraqi veterans, one with Vietnam Vets and the Congolese study. I'm going to write my master's thesis on these three studies and PTSD. The government just gave 2 million dollars to a project further testing TM and PTSD in San Diego and the David Lynch Foundation pays for any vet to learn for free. The way it works is basically blood flow increases in the prefrontal cortex while decreasing in the limbic system, virtually turning the amygdala off. The parasympathetic nervous system ramps up while the sympathetic nervous system shuts down and when this is done systematically, 20 minutes each day every day, twice a day, the brain rewires toward relaxation and stress diminishes. Experience changes our brain and 70% of our brain connections change daily. So TM rewires the brain so that the traumatic stress just drops off. Within one minute of transcending, apneustic breathing begins, heart rate synchs with the lungs, blood pressure drops and alpha1 waves take over the brain. NO one should have to suffer like this guy and I respect his decision to end his life. I hope he has learned TM or can learn so the process is less stressful for him and his wife could benefit as I'm sure her stress is probably as high as his. When I'm done with school, this September, I'm going to enter an ashram for five months and learn how to teach transcendental meditation, and then I'm going to write about this stuff and teach as many veterans as I can for free. To learn more go to the davidlynchfoundation.org and click on Wounded Warrior Project. I think in a matter of years TM will be standard treatment for anyone with PTSD.

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