Helping veterans

Written by Baker City Herald Editorial Board February 03, 2012 04:48 pm

The event that happened Tuesday at the National Guard Armory in Baker City was at once heart-warming and heart-rending.

We were gratified that so many people — about 60 —turned out to learn how to help soldiers readjust to civilian life.

No group is more deserving of aid.

But we were also saddened to be reminded that it's hardly rare for returning military personnel to need such assistance.

The effects of war, suffice it to say, persist for years after the guns fall silent. Sometimes the pain, whether physical, mental or both, never dissipates.

This lingering damage can manifest in a myriad of ways, ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to confrontations that require the police to intervene.

We were pleased that local law enforcement officials were among those attending Wednesday's "Reintegration Summit." Although police must of course do their job dispassionately, it can only be to their benefit, and to that of the people they deal with, if officers learn skills that could help them defuse a potentially dangerous situation involving a veteran.

It's important to emphasize that most veterans, despite the trauma many have experienced, are no more likely to become violent than anyone else.

Still, we applaud the community, and various veterans support groups, for recognizing that, as a speaker pointed out Wednesday, in war, "everybody comes back changed."