On the Fourth of July an entire country celebrates its collective awesomeness. In the enjoyment it is easy to lose sight of the necessity to acknowledge those that made huge sacrifices for our independence. Most are unaware that fireworks , especially those in unpredictable waves before and after the Fourth itself are harrowing experience for many veterans and are a yearly trigger for some veterans suffering from PTSD. Many of the privileges the general population enjoys were secured by the action and heroism of others. specifically, those privileges are earned by those who stand up and say “I will sacrifice my own intentions and self-direction and give them to my country.” Soldiers lay down their lives for their country and comrades, and often come home injured in body and mind. With dwindling sources of support from the rest of the population, the veteran population is in crisis.
Our veterans are no longer restricted to the elderly and aging, expecting the end of an era. Today we are faced with millions of broken bodies and minds, of all ages and walks and life, that require repair, rejuvenation and re-invigoration. Fully healed, these are potentially some of our strongest and most conscientious citizens of the future. We need them at their best, as soon as possible. Veterans span all races, intelligence levels, and body types. Their numbers include a wide breadth of hobbies, religious beliefs, morals and inclinations. As a group, veterans reflect and magnify society at large, and have a massive influence on it. Current estimates indicate that veterans compose 33% of the male homeless population in the United States.
More than the average heterogenous group, veterans are trained, engendered toward collective action, possessing of an understanding of duty, and respectful of the system of ranks. This could make them far more capable of cooperatively achieving and maintaining a mission focus, getting large jobs done quickly, than the average population. among them are leaders we sorely need.
The American veteran can be seen as a living, evolving example of a sub-population used and discarded by the political regime. Minus a few stalwart supporters throughout history, the American representative body has often offered little more than disingenuous discussion and lip service to those that have served our country in times of war. The rhetoric of exalted care and value for the veteran has never been fully realized, despite the best efforts of the hard-working Veteran’s Administration, and many veterans struggle to find basic care that they desperately need.
Veterans are under-served, and have needs that are not met or even fully understood by the medical establishment. The medical establishment is in the business of keeping people alive and repairing the broken parts. Even in the best of circumstances, medicine alone cannot restore one’s humanity. There is a clear deficiency of programs to help face the mental AND physical perils cohesively, and create a new life and identity that respects the soldier that was.
Who Am I?
My name is Mark St. Peter; my therapy practice is called Dynamic Balance, and my specialty is trauma, regardless of the source. Life’s wounded warriors, literal or figurative, are my people. People that have been injured, but strive to regain their vitality, often tap facets of humanity that most never need to explore. In the past, I have volunteered my services to veterans on an individual basis, but have lacked the means to express my gratitude on a larger scale. Modern technology is now starting to make it seem possible.
The timing of my birth and station in life was such that I did not to have to serve in the military. Being born in the mid 60’s in a household with a television meant that children grew up acutely aware of the ravages of war. Throughout our formative years, from diapers to bicycles, our American living room was populated with images of wounded soldiers, punctuated by the crisp delivery of Walter Cronkite giving the stats.
In college, I was the victim of a hit-and-run. Weeks later, upon waking for the first time and seeing my father, my first words were: “Look on the bright side dad, at least the (expletive) army doesn’t want me anymore.” I meant no disrespect to the service, of course, but rather was trying to lighten the mood for a father that was obviously in grief. The statement and its timing was, however, indicative of the heaviness and fear with which the prospect of joining the military had weighed on me throughout my life, a truth that was shared by many young men of my generation, whether they ended up serving or not. Like nearly everyone, I have family and friends that have served, and I have had the privilege of working with many of them one-on-one.
All of the greatest moments of my career involve witnessing people transcending hopelessness and desperation. Seeing people regain their optimism and establish a vision for a future that includes not only adequate comfort and restored function, but also a sense of purpose and direction, is a powerful thing. My desire is to share this experience with those that earned some of the privileges that I enjoy in my life and practice, and to give back to a population that needs it the most.
The idea behind building DynamicBalance.com was to provide an educational resource for all those who face physical challenges: folks who wish to build better fitness habits, athletes looking for an edge, and those of us who face injury or serious trauma. The website has free information, educational articles, and exercise instructions and videos. The Foundation Five is a simple set of five exercises that build foundation strength, and are designed to be as accessible to everyone as possible.
Of course, to solve big issues and make custom modifications requires observation, instruction, and discussion, and there is no one-size-fits-all-solution, but it is a starting point, and we’d like the veteran population to know that it’s available to them.
In addition, I am personally happy to answer questions from those who engage the web material. E-mail me, contact me through the website, or comment on our articles, and I will answer. Those that have served our country deserve our respect and admiration, no matter their individual circumstance, and on this Fourth of July, we salute you.