The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been experienced not only on the battlefield; it has moved its way inside the homes of military families left behind in the United States by deploying service members. When soldiers return, the wars come with them. Service members cope with the emotional and physical scars and the employment disruptions of their service. Moreover, more frequent deployment and shorter periods at home between deployments have made this a significantly more difficult set of wars for military families than those of the past.
Almost 2.5 million service members have been to the wars and returned since 2001. Around half of those soldiers have been deployed more than once. Many times that number of Americans has been affected as spouses, parents, children, and friends: they have each coped with their loved ones’ absence, worried for their safety, and dealt with the changed person who usually returns. In addition, families often take on the burden of care for their injured relatives even when still housed in military hospitals. When soldiers come home, they often face a life of physical disability due to their injuries. Almost 700,000 veterans currently have some degree of officially recognized disability as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Published by: Molly Swander 4/11/2013
The following video is just a glimpse of the millions of people impacted by deployment and the war.