WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – United States forces may have left Afghanistan, but that’s not the end of the war. At least, not for those who served who still struggle with the images and how to process what they may have seen.
If you’re a veteran and feel this way, you’re not alone. No matter when or where you served.
Whether they’re still learning to cope, or reliving memories long since buried inside, this time in the aftermath of recent events in Afghanistan can be difficult for our area’s veterans.
All veterans have triggers and these triggers bring out emotions and images that other people don’t know about. Only other combat veterans know about them.John Looney, Director, Wheeling Vet Center
The Wheeling Vet Center knows that processing those images takes time, and they’re here to help.
These images don’t go away, but we learn to live with them to where they don’t interfere with our life and we sort of put them in perspective with the rest of our lives, but then again, it’s only the other combat veterans that have learned this that can teach the others.John Looney, Director, Wheeling Vet Center
The organization scheduled a debriefing on September 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the Wheeling Ohio County Airport. It’s only veterans to talk, to listen and to make friends.
When we talk among ourselves we don’t have to explain ourselves and we don’t have to look at the confusing looks on their faces.John Looney, Director, Wheeling Vet Center
It’s open to any combat veteran no matter when they served.
Looney said there are parallels between the war in Afghanistan and the Vietnam War, which veterans of that era may be struggling with once again.
When you go to war you don’t’ want to just stop it. You want to win it and it’s very hard for people to accept the fact that we got into a war that wasn’t well defined and we have to stop it.John Looney, Director, Wheeling Vet Center
Looney wants female veterans to know they’re welcome too.
Their brothers are there and want to be supportive.John Looney, Director, Wheeling Vet Center
The Wheeling Vet Center will hold the debriefing this Saturday, September 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport.
The airport will also be holding an event to commemorate 9/11, celebrate the airport’s anniversary and honor all first responders throughout the day. While veterans are in the debriefing, there will be activities for their families as part of the airport’s celebration.
Veterans who wish to attend do not have to RSVP, just show up.
They will hold multiple sessions if necessary, and schedule more debriefings if enough veterans show interest.
If you’re a veteran and you need someone to talk to right now, call the Wheeling Vet Center at 304-232-0587 or the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 then press 1.