PEACE


King slaying stained Memphis for years…

2209074400_9cf42be901_m.jpg The Motel when Dr King was slain.

In MEMPHIS, Tenn., Joe Warren dropped his head to his hands, sobbing as he remembered back 40 years to the bitter garbage workers strike that drew Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis and to his death.

Warren, 86, was one of the 1,300 black sanitation workers who walked off the job in 1968 with a strike that tore at the foundation of the city’s white only rule.

“They talked to you like you were a dog, and they worked you like a dog,” he said, his shoulders trembling. “But I couldn’t find a job nowhere else.”

The 65 day strike for the right to unionize ended with a victory for the workers. But King’s assassination stained this Southern city for years, limiting its prosperity and hurting its reputation worldwide.

“It took a decade of growth out of the Memphis regional economy,” said David Ciscel, a University of Memphis economist. “It was a time of fairly rapid growth in the South, and it was a time when Atlanta and Nashville kind of left us behind. People just didn’t want to associate with us.”

The city’s fortunes eventually improved, thanks largely to a young cargo airline named Federal Express that in the early 1980s showed that Memphis could still be a good place to do business. The airline grew into today’s FedEx Corp.

“It rescued Memphis,” Ciscel said.

The sanitation strike and King’s assassination made clear to blacks and whites alike that “the old plantation mentality had to be dumped,” said Michael Honey, author of “Going Down Jericho Road,” a history of the Memphis strike and King’s struggle for economic justice for the poor.

In the 1960s, close to 60 percent of black families in Memphis lived in poverty, Honey said, and few jobs other than manual labor were open to blacks.

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Today the city has a poverty rate of nearly 24 percent overall, almost twice the national figure, and 30 percent among black residents.

But the good jobs, in government and the private sector, are no longer reserved for whites. Memphis, which was 40 percent black in the 1960s, is now more than 60 percent black. It has had a black mayor since 1991.

The strike began in February 1968 after two sanitation workers were crushed by a trash compactor when they climbed in a garbage truck to get out of the rain.

The accident was blamed on faulty equipment, but it inflamed tensions that had festered for years over low wages, poor working conditions and racist treatment of black workers by white superiors.

The garbage workers had to wrestle with tubs and cans of all shapes and sizes, some so heavy it took two or three men to lift them. In the sweltering Memphis summers, the containers were prime breeding grounds for maggots that tumbled onto the workers.

“You’d have to tie a rag around your head to keep them from going down your back. That’s rough work, but you couldn’t say anything or they’d fire you,” Warren said. “We were men, but they treated us like boys.”

Pay ranged from $1.65 to $1.85 an hour for garbage crew members, just above the federal minimum wage of $1.60. Workers got no breaks or overtime pay and could be sent home without full pay when it rained. White supervisors drew full pay, rain or shine.

Looking back on the indignities endured by the workers still brings tears to Warren’s eyes, but the pain is softened by memories of organizing the strike and taking to the streets under the banner “I Am A Man.”

“I had a sign on my front and my back,” he said, “and I was walking around saying, ‘I am a man. I ain’t going to be quiet no more.'”

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King was cut down April 4 by a rifle slug that tore through his jaw and spine as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. James Earl Ray, a petty criminal and prison escapee, pleaded guilty to the murder. He died in prison in 1998.

After King’s death, with the National Guard patrolling the streets, worried Memphis residents began calling for an end to racial hostilities.

“In the beginning, there was chaos,” said Fred Davis, one of three newly elected blacks on the 13 member city council in 1968. “But it brought people together who had never talked to each other to try to deal with a community problem.”

Twelve days after King’s death, the strike ended with the city council recognizing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees as the workers’ union. The workers got a pay raise of 15 cents an hour, promotions based on seniority and the right to file on~-the~job grievances.

Though King’s killer was not from Memphis, the city was seen by much of the rest of the world as a cultural backwater responsible for the murder.

“People in Memphis have always been pretty sensitive of what outsiders think,” said history professor Charles Crawford of the University of Memphis. “It caused a deliberate change, maybe not in the true feelings of a lot of people, but at least in the expressions of them. The black community could see the collapsing of resistance to their aspirations.”

The National Civil Rights Museum opened at the Lorraine in 1991 after private citizens saved it from foreclosure and demolition. It is now a tourist attraction and a shrine to the civil rights movement.

“Most people say the assassination, set the city back hugely in terms of economic development and tourism and all that,” said Honey, the author, who is also a professor of labor and civil rights studies at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

“They’re now trying to turn that minus into a plus by acknowledging what happened and trying to highlight the history of the black freedom movement.”

For many people, Memphis has become “kind of hallowed ground,” Honey added. “It’s a place where important things happened and people want to connect to that.”

2208278331_4ddf44cf96_m.jpg Boarding house across the street from the Lorraine Motel where James Earl Ray fired the shot that killed Dr. King

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Thank you AP News and WOODY BAIRD, Associated Press Writer
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How many of you, red, yellow, black or white could work in these kind of conditions and still feel like a human being…I applaud those of you who fought for your basic human rights and those of your families.

So much tragedy, so many gone, some long gone.

Memphis will be remembered for Dr. King, Dallas forever for President Kennedy and NY for 911.

World peace, should start at home.
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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The American War: The U.S. in Vietnam

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Pinky and Bunny explain “The American War: The U.S. in Vietnam”

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You should not watch the first you tube with out watching the second.

Agent Orange and it’s effects…

To this day, I still hear opinions about Vietnam. That there was no such thing as Agent Orange and that they do not understand why Vietnam Veterans have P.T.S. If you look to see the madness…it, to me is quite understandable and that our soldiers were effected with Agent Orange as well. Germicides do not know the difference between a Vietnamese or an American.

I see Iraq as I did Vietnam…where are the weapons of mass destruction? I only see a war that was NOT NECESSARY!

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I pray for World Peace on Easter,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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Hello Baby Boomers and I hope that you enjoy these blasts from the past.

I am an old fashioned girl, who prefers vintage and antiques to the new and modern.

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May all of you have a joyous Holiday!
~~~~~~~Sharon~~~~~~
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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Your every day Easter PEEP

Yes, Baby Boomers, it is that time of the year…this will be my [second] annual PEEP POST…
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Here are this years PEEPS for the Holidays

451926198_d82bb02877_m.jpg This is my PEEP Show…

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Where do PEEPS come from you ask???

2312952058_18663f828b_m.jpg Chocolate eggs…of course!

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Political PEEPS…PEEPS are very Political

2349245913_255c88a94c_m.jpg PEEPS for Obama

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PEEPS are show offs!

412264230_cc55a4e232_m1.jpg Here PEEPS PARADE for Gay Pride.

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PEEPS are very religious!

7568363_b22ed96d99_m.jpg Here is Moses with some PEEPLES as they cried…”Let my PEEPLES GO!”

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PEEPS are everyday PEEPLES…just like you and me…

1594908923_6b089daa5b_m.jpg If you cut them do they not bleed???

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How do PEEPS get around, you ask…???

505153403_9bdf9da03f_m.jpg It is truly spooky…as you will never see a PEEP alone!

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PEEPS are always Politically Correct!

437843206_b21e9b5a6f_m.jpg PEEPS for PEACE…these PEEPS will always be white!

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Some times PEEPS are in great PERIL, as they are so delicious!

412663035_ffa1120cd8_m.jpg PEEPS in PERIL…Dinosaurs love PEEPS!

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PEEPS make great fashion accessories!

67137847_78ceb05625_m.jpg The ablity to accessorize with PEEPS is what separates us from the Primates!

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Not all PEEPS are good PEEPS

457297522_9952aaec5a_m.jpg PEEPS have been known to PEEP!

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PEEPS make great Jewelry as well!

450157359_8d9f1d6fb7_m.jpg One does not have to have HORSE sense to know when to wear a PEEP TIARRA!

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419593213_0cd7c245c4_m.jpg PEEP Jewelry is quite the rage…in PEEP circles.

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PEEPS are fun to decorate with as well.

429387231_3d534ce3f2_m.jpg PEEP Wreaths can be made for any occassion.

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PEEPS are very stylish and fashion conscious!

161461514_c6f0de4b5f_m.jpg If you can make an Easter dress with PEEPS…the list is endless of what you can do with PEEPS!

Hope you enjoyed MY PEEP SHOW…
Happy Holidays
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

My favorite PEEPS are always PURPLE PEEPS…how about you???

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In WASHINGTON…Protesters blocked traffic and government buildings in Washington, acted out a Baghdad street scene in Syracuse, N.Y., and banged drums in a parade through San Francisco on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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Protesters blocked traffic and government buildings in Washington, acted out a Baghdad street scene in Syracuse, N.Y., and banged drums in a parade through San Francisco on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In other, more somber observances, organizers set up a 2 mile display of about 4,000 T~shirts in Cincinnati, meant to symbolize the members of the U.S. military killed in Iraq, while in Louisville, Ky., demonstrators lined rows of military boots, sandals and children’s tennis shoes on the steps of a courthouse.

Laurie Wolberton of Louisville, Ky., whose son just finished an Army tour of duty in Iraq, said she fears the worsening U.S. economy has caused Americans to forget about the war.

“We’re not paying attention anymore,” she said. “My son has buried his friends. He’s given eulogies, he’s had to go through things no one should have to go through, and over here they’ve forgotten. They just go shopping instead.”

On previous anniversaries, tens of thousands of people marched through major U.S. cities, and more than 100,000 gathered on several occasions leading up to the invasion.

Only a few hundred mustered for one of Wednesday’s largest gatherings, in Washington, the crowds’ size perhaps kept in check by a late winter storm system that stretched the length of the country.

Dozens of people were arrested, most of them at demonstrations in San Francisco, Washington and Syracuse.

At the Internal Revenue Service building in the nation’s capital, about 100 protesters led by a marching band gathered at the main entrance. Several jumped barricades and sat down in front of the doors and were immediately detained. The demonstrators said they were focusing on the IRS, among other institutions, because it gathers taxes used to fund the war.

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Brian Bickett, 29, was among the first arrested. The high school theater teacher from New York City said he had never engaged in civil disobedience before.

“We need to find lots of different ways to resist the war, and I decided to try this,” he said.

About 20 protesters were arrested about a block from the U.S. Capitol after blocking traffic. In some cases, police had to drag the protesters off the street.

In Syracuse, police arrested 20 protesters who blocked traffic by creating a mock Baghdad street scene. One person dressed in camouflage lay on the ground. Another was covered in a white sheet with red markings and a woman leaned over as if grieving. They were from a group of more than 100 demonstrators who marched downtown in a steady rain over the lunch hour.

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In Chicopee, Mass., eight people were arrested when they blocked a gate at Westover Air Reserve Base, police said. Five people were arrested In Hartford, Conn., for blocking the front door of a federal courthouse.

On the West Coast, San Francisco police arrested about 100 protesters by early afternoon for blocking traffic and chaining themselves to buildings, police said.

The rallies, which drew hundreds to the city’s busy financial district, were mostly peaceful, though some demonstrators threw glass Christmas ornaments filled with paint at police, said Sgt. Steve Mannina, a San Francisco police spokesman.

Black balloons were tied to trees along San Francisco’s main downtown thoroughfare, and protesters at a table offered coffee, oranges and “unhappy birthday cake” to passers-by.

A few hundred protesters banging drums and waving banners that read “Was it worth it” took to the streets for a parade that blocked morning traffic.

In Anchorage, Alaska, vandals dumped a gallon of red paint on a war veterans memorial, police spokesman Lt. Paul Honeman said.

Demonstrators also converged in Ohio, where more than 20 vigils, rallies, marches and other events were planned.

In New York City, women sang songs and counted out the war dead outside the military recruiting station in Times Square, which was recently the target of a bomb.

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Half a dozen war protesters in Miami dressed in black placed flowers outside the U.S. Southern Command during rush-hour Wednesday morning.

Outside a military recruitment office in Washington, protesters were met by a handful of counterdemonstrators, one of several shows of support for the war and the troops.

Colby Dillard, who held a sign reading, “We support our brave military and their just mission,” pointed to some red paint that one of the war protesters had splattered on the sidewalk.

“The same blood was spilled to give you the right to do what you’re doing,” said Dillard, who said he served in Iraq in 2003.

Earlier, about 150 people, mostly with the group Veterans for Peace, marched down Independence Avenue. Many of them carried upside~down American flags, which they said symbolized a nation in distress.

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Daniel Black, who was stationed in Fallujah with the Marines in 2004, said he came to believe the war was a mistake after he returned.

“The more I read the more it just didn’t add up,” said the 25 year old, a student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

A couple of miles away at the American Petroleum Institute, protesters chanted “No blood for oil!” and tried to block traffic by sitting in the street and linking arms. At least once, they were dragged away by police.

39232522_56f93c760f_m.jpg Atlanta 1/9/5.Is it worth it Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Bush?

Vandals in Milwaukee damaged the front door of an Army recruiting center and spray painted anti~war graffiti across its front windows. Milwaukee police said the vandalism occurred Monday night or Tuesday.

The Iraq war has been unpopular both abroad and in the United States, although an Associated Press-Ipsos poll in December showed that growing numbers think the U.S. is making progress and will eventually be able to claim some success in Iraq.
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Thank you AP NEWS, Sarah Karush, AP writer and those who contributing to this report: Associated Press writers Karen Mahabir in Washington; Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn.; Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami; William Kates in Syracuse, N.Y.; Marcus Wohlsen in San Francisco; Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee; Stephanie Reitz in Springfield, Mass.; Will Graves in Louisville, Ky.; and Deepti Hajela in New York.
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Gainesvilee, Florida…Uof F
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Reporting from Gainesville, Florida, and the University of Florida…The Baby Boomer Queen is pleased to report that the peace~niks were on their corner of University and 13th. They varied from age and size but the hearts were all the same. The majority that I saw were Baby Boomers.

There are still those of us who pray for peace and still make a stand for it.

It was interesting to see those that went by with their horns honking, with their fists raised and those that went by with their horns honking and their peace fingers up.

Bring our soilders home…but not in baskets or strechers!

Peace out
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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~~~~~~~~~~~IMAGINE~~~~~~~~~~~

New generation of homeless vets emerge…

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In from LEEDS, Mass., Peter Mohan traces the path from the Iraqi battlefield to this lifeless conference room, where he sits in a kilt and a Camp Kill Yourself T-shirt and calmly describes how he became a sad cliche: a homeless veteran.

There was a happy homecoming, but then an accident, car crash, broken collarbone. And then a move east, close to his wife’s new job but away from his best friends.

And then self~destruction: He would gun his motorcycle to 100 mph and try to stand on the seat. He would wait for his wife to leave in the morning, draw the blinds and open up whatever bottle of booze was closest.

He would pull out his gun, a .45~caliber, semiautomatic pistol. He would lovingly clean it, or just look at it and put it away. Sometimes place it in his mouth.

“I don’t know what to do anymore,” his wife, Anna, told him one day. “You can’t be here anymore.”

Peter Mohan never did find a steady job after he left Iraq. He lost his wife, a judge granted their divorce this fall, he lost his friends, he lost his home, and now he is here, in a shelter.

He is 28 years old. “People come back from war different,” he offers by way of a summary.

This is not a new story in America: A young veteran back from war whose struggle to rejoin society has failed, at least for the moment, fighting demons and left homeless.

But it is happening to a new generation. As the war in Afghanistan plods on in its seventh year, and the war in Iraq in its fifth, a new cadre of homeless veterans is taking shape.

And with it come the questions: How is it that a nation that became so familiar with the archetypal homeless, combat addled Vietnam veteran is now watching as more homeless veterans turn up from new wars?

What lessons have we not learned? Who is failing these people? Or is homelessness an unavoidable byproduct of war, of young men and women who devote themselves to serving their country and then see things no man or woman should?

For as long as the United States has sent its young men and later its young women, off to war, it has watched as a segment of them come home and lose the battle with their own memories, their own scars, and wind up without homes.

The Civil War produced thousands of wandering veterans. Frequently addicted to morphine, they were known as “tramps,” searching for jobs and, in many cases, literally still tending their wounds.

More than a decade after the end of World War I, the “Bonus Army” descended on Washington, demanding immediate payment on benefits that had been promised to them, but payable years later, and were routed by the U.S. military.

And, most publicly and perhaps most painfully, there was Vietnam: Tens of thousands of war weary veterans, infamously rejected or forgotten by many of their own fellow citizens.

Now it is happening again, in small but growing numbers.

For now, about 1,500 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have been identified by the Department of Veterans Affairs. About 400 of them have taken part in VA programs designed to target homelessness.

The 1,500 are a small, young segment of an estimated 336,000 veterans in the United States who were homeless at some point in 2006, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Still, advocates for homeless veterans use words like “surge” and “onslaught” and even “tsunami” to describe what could happen in the coming years, as both wars continue and thousands of veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress.

People who have studied postwar trauma say there is always a lengthy gap between coming home, the time of parades and backslaps and “The Boys Are Back in Town” on the local FM station, and the moments of utter darkness that leave some of them homeless.

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In that time, usually a period of years, some veterans focus on the horrors they saw on the battlefield, or the friends they lost, or why on earth they themselves deserved to come home at all. They self medicate, develop addictions, spiral down.

How or perhaps the better question is why…is this happening again?

“I really wish I could answer that question,” says Anthony Belcher, an outreach supervisor at New Directions, which conducts monthly sweeps of Skid Row in Los Angeles, identifying homeless veterans and trying to help them get over addictions.

“It’s the same question I’ve been asking myself and everyone around me. I’m like, wait, wait, hold it, we did this before. I don’t know how our society can allow this to happen again.”

Mental illness, financial troubles and difficulty in finding affordable housing are generally accepted as the three primary causes of homelessness among veterans, and in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, the first has raised particular concern.

Iraq veterans are less likely to have substance abuse problems but more likely to suffer mental illness, particularly post traumatic stress, according to the Veterans Administration. And that stress by itself can trigger substance abuse.

Some advocates say there are also some factors particular to the Iraq war, like multiple deployments and the proliferation of improvised explosive devices, that could be pulling an early trigger on stress disorders that can lead to homelessness.

While many Vietnam veterans began showing manifestations of stress disorders roughly 10 years after returning from the front, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have shown the signs much earlier.

That could also be because stress disorders are much better understood now than they were a generation ago, advocates say.

“There’s something about going back, and a third and a fourth time, that really aggravates that level of stress,” said Michael Blecker, executive director of Swords to Plowshares,” a San Francisco homeless-vet outreach program.

“And being in a situation where you have these IEDs, everywhere’s a combat zone. There’s no really safe zone there. I think that all is just a stew for post traumatic stress disorder.”

Others point to something more difficult to define, something about American culture, that while celebrating and honoring troops in a very real way upon their homecoming, ultimately forgets them.

This is not necessarily due to deliberate negligence. Perhaps because of the lingering memory of Vietnam, when troops returned from an unpopular war to face open hostility, many Americans have taken care to express support for the troops even as they solidly disapprove of the war in Iraq.

But it remains easy for veterans home from Iraq for several years, and teetering on the edge of losing a job or home, to slip into the shadows. And as their troubles mount, they often feel increasingly alienated from friends and family members.

“War changes people,” says John Driscoll, vice president for operations and programs at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “Your trust in people is strained. You’ve been separated from loved ones and friends. The camaraderie between troops is very extreme, and now you feel vulnerable.”

The VA spends about $265 million annually on programs targeting homeless veterans. And as Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face problems, the VA will not simply “wait for 10 years until they show up,” Pete Dougherty, the VA’s director of homeless programs, said when the new figures were released.

“We’re out there now trying to get everybody we can to get those kinds of services today, so we avoid this kind of problem in the future,” he said.

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These are all problems defined in broad strokes, but they cascade in very real and acute ways in the lives of individual veterans.

Take Mike Lally. He thinks back now to the long stretches in the stifling Iraq heat, nothing to do but play Spades and count flies, and about the day insurgents killed the friendly shop owner who sold his battalion Pringles and candy bars.

He thinks about crouching in the back of a Humvee watching bullets crash into fuel tanks during his first firefight, and about waiting back at base for the vodka his mother sent him, dyed blue and concealed in bottles of Scope mouthwash.

It was a little maddening, he supposes, every piece of it, but Lally is fairly sure that what finally cracked him was the bodies. Unloading the dead from ambulances and loading them onto helicopters. That was his job.

“I guess I loaded at least 20,” he says. “Always a couple at a time. And you knew who it was. You always knew who it was.”

It was in 2004, when he came back from his second tour in Iraq with the Marine Corps, that his own bumpy ride down began.

He would wake up at night, sweating and screaming, and during the days he imagined people in the shadows, a state the professionals call hypervigilence and Mike Lally calls “being on high alert, all the time.”

His father in law tossed him a job installing vinyl siding, but the stress overcame him, and Lally began to drink. A little rum in his morning coffee at first, and before he knew it he was drunk on the job, and then had no job at all.

And now Mike Lally, still only 26 years old, is here, booted out of his house by his wife, padding around in an old T~shirt and sweats at a Leeds shelter called Soldier On, trying to get sober and perhaps, on a day he can envision but not yet grasp, get his home and family and life back.

“I was trying to live every day in a fog,” he says, reflecting between spits of tobacco juice. “I’d think I was back in there, see people popping out of windows. Any loud noise would set me off. It still does.”

Soldier On is staffed entirely by homeless veterans. A handful who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan, usually six or seven at a time, mix with dozens from Vietnam. Its president, Jack Downing, has spent nearly four decades working with addicts, the homeless and the mentally ill.

Next spring, he plans to open a limited equity cooperative in the western Massachusetts city of Pittsfield. Formerly homeless veterans will live there, with half their rents going into individual deposit accounts.

Downing is convinced that ushering homeless veterans back into homeownership is the best way out of the pattern of homelessness that has repeated itself in an endless loop, war after war.

“It’s a disgrace,” Downing says. “You have served your country, you get damaged, and you come back and we don’t take care of you. And we make you prove that you need our services.”

“And how do you prove it?” he continues, voice rising in anger. “You prove it by regularly failing until you end up in a system where you’re identified as a person in crisis. That has shocked me.”

Even as the nation gains a much better understanding of the types of post-traumatic stress disorders suffered by so many thousands of veterans, even as it learns the lessons of Vietnam and tries to learn the lessons of Iraq, it is probably impossible to foretell a day when young American men and women come home from wars unscarred.

At least as long as there are wars.

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But Driscoll, at least, sees an opportunity to do much better.

He notes that the VA now has more than 200 veteran adjustment centers to help ease the transition back into society, and the existence of more than 900 VA connected community clinics nationwide.

“We’re hopeful that five years down the road, you’re not going to see the same problems you saw after the Vietnam War,” he says. “If we as a nation do the right thing by these guys.”
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Thank you CNN and AP News, ERIN McCLAM, AP National Writer and http://www.army.mil
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As most of my readers know “I do support our troops,” but NOT THE WAR!

My Step~Father still has not gotten paid for being a Merchant Marine from WWII.

If we have the money to fight a war…we should have the money to take care of our troops and soldiers!

Try to hire a VET.

AND bring back our men and women who are over seas!

Make love not War…remember that one, Baby Boomers???

WAR has NEVER been the answer.
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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