Problems Faced By United States Veterans After World War II

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Haunting sleep terrors reoccur night after night. Anxiety attacks become so debilitating, maintaining a job seems impossible. Disturbing memories only seem to fade after reaching the bottom of a bottle. Eric Swinney, a former Marine in his late twenties, faces these exact conditions frequently. A deployment to Iraq, in which a job required him to clear the streets of Iraqi bodies following attacks, left him with a horror that would follow him home. Severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety became so intense that he lost every job he applied for, which totaled around six. While residing in Georgia he began to drown his sorrows in alcohol and received a DUI. A move to Phoenix, Arizona, provided him with a stable job, but …show more content…
In the 1870s, as the Civil War came to an end, what would later become PTSD appeared in many servicemen. Although the United States’ next encounter with war, World War I, placed many veterans on the streets, World War II would create a much larger number of veterans who found themselves struggling with housing and employment. The United States enlisted thousands of servicemen and women in the 1940s to combat World War II. Many enlistees found themselves homeless prior to war, served in battle, and then returned to the streets. However, the addition of the G.I Bill, a program designed to give veterans the opportunity to receive free education, upturned many of those that lived as homeless following the Second World War. The United States encountered another major war during the spring of 1965: Vietnam (“American Wars”). At the conclusion of the war, many servicemen and women suffered from disabilities, PTSD, and substance abuse (“Homelessness Timeline”). Because 47% of homeless veterans during this time consisted of those who served in Vietnam, the public began to understand the coalition between service and homelessness (“American Wars”). Another advancement to aid United States Veterans came in 1973 through the Rehabilitation Act. This program allows everyone equal rights to government services. Many servicemen and women took this opportunity to receive therapy and housing support (Tribe and Shriver A.21). The United States then became involved in the Gulf War; the pattern continued. A survey conducted of 1,200 homeless veterans in 1997 showed that 10% of those effected served in either the Gulf War or Desert Storm (“American Wars”). In total, 90% of homeless veterans served their time in the military prior to 2001 (Obama). Veteran homelessness documents as a direct relation to United States involvement in each of the five early

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