Veterans Day: Issues of Warfare

JONESBORO, AR  (KAIT)  --  On this Veterans Day, former soldiers said the battles waged in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are much different than previous wars. Hard to detect improvised explosive devices are commonly used in guerilla warfare and by terrorist organizations. Those weapons of today were not used until recently.

"With the emergence of improvised explosive devices, we're seeing more traumatic brain injuries," said Corey Seats, Battalion Commander of the 875th.

Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan said IED's are any type of weapon used by means other than militaristic.

According to the Department of Defense, approximately 40% of Coalition casualties result from IED's. Seats said modern technology is helping keep some of those people hit by IED's alive.

"We are so much better now with combat care, combat medics, combat lifesavers, that soldiers are able to receive treatment, where in prior wars, they may not have made it", Seats said.

IED's can cause severe head trauma and third degree burns. Soldiers are also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when they get back home, often reliving violent memories.

There are other differences in today's fight against terrorism than previous wars, such as the return home from Vietnam.

"The reception that we received upon returning to home was so very different than it is today," said Jerry Bowen, who served two tours to Vietnam. Bowen said the American public got the war confused with the warrior in the late 60's and early 70's.

"They held the soldiers who fought in that war as being responsible for that war," said Bowen.

Bowen said he gets emotional when he sees soldiers come back home from Iraq and Afghanistan today,  because he remembers what it was like when he was a soldier.

"From my historical perspective, I am glad to see that has been turned around," said Bowen.

A number of events will be held across Region 8 today.

In Jonesboro, a 24 hour vigil will be held leading up to the ceremony at 11 a.m. The Veterans Day parade will be held in downtown Jonesboro at 10 a.m. unless it is raining. If it does rain, then the ceremony will be held in the basement at the 1st Baptist Church on Union Street. Retired US Army General James Simmons will deliver the keynote speech.

In Paragould, a ceremony will be held at the Old Greene County Courthouse near the memorial monument. Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill will speek about the importance of Veterans Day.

In Ash Flat, a barbecue lunch will start at 11 a.m. at the American Veterans Memorial site. If you want to honor a veteran with a special commemorative brick, you can purchase one for $50. For more information, call (870)257-2511.

In Highland, the high school will host an event at 10 a.m.

For information on events closer to your area, contact your local American Legion.