A TV show we watched not long ago told the
story of a decorated war veteran, a one-time
hero who had fallen on hard times. Troubled and
unable to succeed in life, he became an alcoholic
and alienated his family and friends.
Ultimately, something snapped. He reverted to
the day he was by himself in a building, holding
off the enemy in the hope that reinforcements
would come. Women were in the building, and he
hurried them out of the place as he once did
when he was a soldier, and shot every man who
came near. They were
the enemy. Ultimately,
he was killed by
police officers who
tried everything they
could think of to
bring him back to the
This was a rerun of
“Naked City” that starred Jack Warden as the
veteran, and it first aired in 1962.
How prophetic, considering that we have at last
become fully aware of what the horrors of combat
can do to men and women who were brought
up in a civilized society like ours, which places
the ultimate value on human life.
For most of America’’s history, our veterans kept
their darkest nightmares to themselves. But then,
we began to see what was happening to our Vietnam
Veterans, who also had to take the lives of
their enemies, saw their buddies maimed and
killed, and may themselves have been wounded
— often mentally, deep inside, in places where
nobody else can see. The number of Vietnam Veterans
who have commited suicide exceeds the
58,000-plus who died as a result of combat.
We now know it as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Margaret “Peggy” Melotti, who once ran the
Re-Entry veterans’ clinic in Cumberland — and is
regarded as a hero by many veterans — helped to
develop and write the protocol for treating PTSD.
This week, an Iraq War veteran who was being
treated for mental illness killed three people and
wounded 16 others before committing suicide at
Fort Hood, the site of a previous deadly mass
shooting. Why he did it, we may never understand.
The human mind — not space — is the final
frontier. What provokes actions like those which
resulted in this latest tragedy, we cannot say. We
continue to hunt for answers, but they are elusive.
Most veterans come home and are able to
resume a more-or-less normal life, even if the
demons are still present to some degree.
We must devote whatever efforts are necessary
to helping those who aren’t as fortunate. Considering
what they’ve done for us, they deserve it.
What makes it happen, we don’t know
A TV show we watched not long ago told the
Water-cooler diplomacy is needed in the Middle East
I liked the forced integration in the Fifties and Sixties because it had a jarring affect on American consciousness. Segregation was outlawed, and integration became the rule of the land.
If you don’t like the way things are going, vote to change them
I daily hear complaining about the decline of America. I also hear people say that things will only get worse and there is nothing we can do about it. Admittedly, I used to be like this.
Thanks for publishing both sides, but only one was right
Kudos to the Cumberland Times-News for publishing opposing Reader Commentaries (“Other groups get county funds, so should CHCO” and “No public funding for extremist organization,” July 30); a relatively minor issue, but a great demonstration of our cherished “Freedom of the Press.”
They can say it’s in Timbuktu, but it’s still in West Virginia
I feel that I have to respond to recent articles about the out of control Potomac Highlands Airport Authority.
State would require disclosure of chemicals used at well sites
A recent article (“Docs want full disclosure of chemicals that would be used in fracking process,” July 21, Page 1A) and editorial (“No secrets: Chemical use in fracking a concern to all,” July 22) in the Times-News might have caused confusion about Maryland’s proposal on public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.
- Research cost of watershed plan before implementing it
- ‘Prayers in the Park’ event slated Aug. 18 in Johnstown
Other groups get county funds, so should CHCO
At a recent county commissioner meeting, members of the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, Maryland Delegate LeRoy Myers Jr. and Pastor Alfred Deas of the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Cumberland attended to request from the commissioners $5 dollars of marriage license money be permanently allocated to the CHCO (“Cemetery group renews funding request,” July 25 Times-News, Page 1A).
No public funding for extremist organization
Once again, the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization has asked the Allegany County commissioners for public funding (“Cemetery group renews funding request,” July 25 Times-News, Page 1A).
Why are fair officials targeting firefighters?
The Allegany County Fair has been known for its Demolition Derby for a long time. Several years back the operation of the derby was awarded to the local Cresaptown Volunteer Fire Department.
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- Water-cooler diplomacy is needed in the Middle East