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“The true cost of war — that’s what this week is about for me. That’s why I am here,” says Steve Acheson, a former Army forward observer and Iraq War veteran. Acheson, now an engineer and a farmer, speaks with a genuine honesty, indicative of his Midwestern roots. The Wisconsin native enlisted in the Army out of high school to go fight a war he truly believed in. And he’s still fighting. But this time on Capitol Hill for the warfighters no one talks about with fellow veterans, Kristofer Goldsmith, Thomas Burke, Alexander McCoy, and David Anderson.
Internships may seem pointless and grueling at times, especially while being a full-time student. However, they are worth the trouble and commitment, even those that don’t offer any form of compensation. Despite the long hours and tedious, grunt work, internships teach valuable lessons. They can be especially important to student veterans trying to break into the professional world with little work experience outside the military.
After hearing he had been stop-lossed and would be heading back to Iraq for a second time, Kristofer Goldsmith decided to end his life. Going back to war acted as a trigger to his ongoing and undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder that he had been silently suffering since returning home from his first deployment. In May 2007, the young Army sergeant washed down opiates with vodka and walked into a field.
My grandfather served in the Pacific during World War II and died three months before I shipped to Iraq. I can’t say I knew him well and that saddens me. He was a man of few words and so it was startling when he came up to me at a family event after finding out I was being deployed, grabbed me by the shoulders and just stared at me. He had tears in his eyes and didn’t say a word. At first I thought it was just an emotional goodbye and I half expected him to give me advice or impart some piece of battle-hardened wisdom, a moral nugget to take with me into the desert. But he just stood there in silence. He had been critical of the war in Iraq while I had been a supporter. I wouldn’t realize until later that it was the absence of his words that was most profound. In fact, it is language and the use of certain rhetoric that has left my generation isolated, inhibiting our ability to reintegrate, and impeding us from understanding our wars in any meaningful way.
As Domestic Violence Awareness month approaches next week, the National Football League continues to take heat on what exactly its policy is on domestic violence. It would appear until late, it didn’t really have one. On Friday, Sept. 26, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the NFL would be talking to the U.S. Army about how to handle the issue. This comes after a statement from the Department of Defense that it is reconsidering the depth of its relationship with the NFL. Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby emphasized that the Pentagon is not conducting a full investigation of the league, but inquiring about the “interaction” between the two organizations. Kirby stated that the DoD has “high expectations” for any of its working partners --- high expectations the military no doubt hopes to achieve itself as it has recently come under sharp scrutiny for how it handles sexual assault cases.