WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - When a soldier comes home from war, the most difficult part of recovery is often the part that no one can see. "Honor for All" is an organization dedicated to changing that.
June 27 is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day, and "Honor for All" hosted a presentation to commemorate the loss lives to PTSD, and to help bring an end to the stigma that surrounds it.
PTSD is a real concern for military service members and their families, but the trials of this condition are often overlooked. "Honor for All" Founder Thomas Mahaney organized the event to promote their goal of "visible honor for invisible wounds."
Speakers and audience members gathered in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill to bring to light the struggles that many soldiers and their families have faced.
Guest speakers included 88-year-old Jerry Yellin, who is a veteran from World War II. Yellin spoke about his psychological trauma after coming home from Japan, and told the story of how he got his life back. He says he discovered transcendental mediation years after he was discharged, and now hopes that others can find help through meditation or their own means.
Congressman Hank Johnson and Senator John Hoeven were present to show their support for the cause, and the keynote address was delivered by Sergeant Major of the US Army, Raymond F. Chandler.
Surgeon Generals from the US Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard were all present to share their personal experiences related to PTSD, as well as the efforts their branches make to support soldiers and their families after their tours of duty.
Even among these esteemed military men and women, the smallest speaker's story received a standing ovation. 10-year-old Barbara Webb spoke from atop an ice cooler to see above the lectern, but her stature didn't distract from her message about her father, who is still struggling with PTSD. Webb also told her story to 9NewsNow on air with Anita Brikman on Tuesday. Brikman served as the emcee for the event as part of her efforts to broaden news coverage surrounding the cause.
Even in the hot sun, numerous supporters listened as each speaker delivered one shared message: it is vitally important that we bring awareness to the true nature of PTSD so that we can overcome the stigma and bring honor to all.