A Purple Heart For PTSD

PTSD is as valid a reason to get a Purple Heart as is a physical wound–The Pentagon recently decided not to award the Purple Heart to those suffering from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. Their reason for not awarding this prized medal for those who are wounded or killed by enemy action was that it is not a physical wound. True enough, but someone like me must ask if given that so much of life is not visible whether that isn’t a rather superficial reason? And if one factors in a spiritual dimension then asking becomes even more relevant. The sacrifice of those suffering from PTSD is no less, in fact sometimes more, than those whose wounds bleed. Physical wounds heal far more quickly than psychological ones. If one has ever encountered anyone suffering from this disease, it is not difficult to see how their sacrifice does not end with returning home or with the end of a war, but like those who’ve lost limbs,for example, they have to continually make adjustments. There is another factor,that of motivation, of doing something for one’s country, one’s fellow humans. Most young people enlist in the armed forces with lofty motives and whether one is physically or psychologically wounded does not change that motivation.
We live in a world of materiality, where what is not visible is easily dismissed, making a compassionate view toward those suffering from PTSD all the more necessary. If the Pentagon were to even slightly embrace higher values in its understanding of the issue,it would have no choice but to reconsider and include PTSD in the list of wounds qualifying for a Purple Heart.