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The Commonwealth

Kentucky author and educator discusses how to view veterans as individuals

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A central Kentucky veteran is spreading awareness about the process of returning home to civilian life after serving in the military.

Travis Martin is a two-time veteran of the Iraq War as a sergeant in the US Army. Martin is also Founding Director of the Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies at Eastern Kentucky University.

Noting the suicide rate among veterans, Martin said society often puts veterans into two different categories.

“We look to our veterans as symbols of heroism, of American exceptionalism, of our capacity as a people. And then in other situations, we look at veterans almost as a victim class. Someone who served and had terrible things happen to them and, you know, deserves our sympathy and for some people pity,” said Martin.

Martin said both ways of viewing veterans are narrow and harmful.

People also often associate veterans with PTSD. Martin explained that historical and modern depictions of veterans with post-traumatic stress have been harmful.

“What are the long term ramifications of a society that teaches through implicit and explicit ways that veterans are inherently damaged psychologically, because of their condition? Does that prolong the experience of PTSD? I think it might,” said Martin.

Martin added, too often, people overemphasize deficits that veterans may have as opposed to their many strengths.

Martin is the author of War and Homecoming, a book that aims to help people approach veterans as individuals.

You can hear more from Travis Martin during Eastern Standard, Thursday at 11 a.m. on WEKU.

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