By Jason Thomas
Ron Morton, a former Navy Captain, still fights his war.
Ron suffers from PTSD, a complex psychological disorder often stemming from combat experience. The disorder can destroy lives, ruin friendships, and make functioning in society impossible. Sometimes, a sufferer will have violent outbursts. Sometimes they are confused into thinking they are still in the war zone that earned their affliction.
He’s still fighting not only in his mind but in the everyday world we all walk through. While he suffered for years after he left Vietnam with PTSD, the war he fights now is not inside his head. He’s fighting a war for his fellow soldiers on the streets, in politician offices and in hospitals across the world.
Right now, those who come back from a combat experience and develop PTSD do not qualify for a Purple Heart. While they do receive quality health care for their sacrifices, they are not awarded one of the greatest nods in our country for their suffering. It is suffering caused directly by combat, but since we can’t see it, it goes unnoticed much of the time.
Ron wants to change that. Ron, the men and women like him and the family and friends of those around these fine people, deal with the repercussions of their illness. Sometimes they suffer in silence for decades. These men, these women, Ron and untold numbers of people around them all paid a heavy price for their service and they continue to pay long after the bombs stop dropping.
The war Ron fights is to change the rules that say a PTSD sufferer does not qualify for a Purple Heart. Those highly respected bits of metal and cloth do not command the respect they do because they look nice. They command the respect they do because any person wearing one does not have to say a thing, but the recognition of what they gave for us is known instantly. The men and women who suffer invisibly with PTSD should qualify.
Some gave all. Some give very much for a very long time. Ron’s war is a just war: one that should be won.