by Bill Mares
Originally published 9/30/10 at VPR.net
Recently, in the basement of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Colchester, three dozen people gathered to learn how to help returning National Guard veterans re-adjust to a society at peace they left to go to war. The group also included clergy, social workers, National Guard personnel, one parent of a deployed soldier and members of the parish, I among them.
This was the seventh of ten workshops around Vermont led by chaplains from the Veterans Administration and the Vermont National Guard. Rev. Joseph O’Keeffe of the V.A. called the re-adjustment process a chair with four legs – physical, mental, social, and spiritual.
He said, “Over 200 years we have trained solders to fight against fearsome foes. We have not learned how to de-program them to live again in a peaceful world.”