Eastern commemorates veterans

Eastern New Mexico University helped commemorate veterans on Nov. 12 by hosting the 100 years Veterans Day Celebration at The Golden Student Success Center.

The celebration had a variety of speakers, with the issues of war, particularly World War I, being the main focus.

History Professor Donald “Doc” Elderstarted off his presentation, “A Century of Honor,” by asking a series of questions, giving a piece of candy to those who answered correctly. He asked attendees what all the answers had in common –celebrities, NBA players, and high society socialites.

“Can any of you figure out what all these individuals have in common … they all served in World War I,” he said.

Elder went on to explain how many deaths were recorded during World War I, telling a story that his father-in-law told him when he was younger. When his father-in-law was 5 years old in the town he grew up in, everyone was sad, because they had lost someone from their town.

“He was actually the first solider to die during World War I,” said Elder.

Doc had also talked about enlistment, recognizing someone by their sleeves, numerical systems used, and Air Force beginnings.

“Dr. (Jeff) Elwell let me in on a little secret. ROTC is coming back to ENMU. We are going to have the ROTC once again. It will be the Air Force,” said Elder.

He ended by thanking all the men and women who have served in the military and blessed them for risking their lives, so we could all live.

Following Elder, Kristin Kulman, director of nursing, presented “Providing Medical Care to soldiers in France.

Kulman went on to talk about the number of casualties the war had on all sides, including civilians.

“We (medical providers) figured out that certain little organisms can cause disease … around this time, they had also made vaccines to cure the diseases,” said Kulman.

It was amazing how many people had survived, said Kulman, because during this time, antibiotics weren’t around.

“A lot of nurses went to Europe to help before America was involved in the war. Upon arriving back, many went on to join the American Red Cross, so that they would be prepared to go back and aid the troops,” said Kulman.

Training of nurses, lives during war time, transportation of the wounded, and life upon returning are other things Kulman touched on.

Communication Professor Janet Birkey told the story of Daniel Sommers. He was adopted, married his high school sweet heart, then joined the National Guard and went to Iraq.

“Daniel served in over 400 missions and declined two purple hearts. In 2008, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was treated for five years, but on June 10, 2013, he committed suicide, leaving a note for his wife to share his story, if she so pleased,” said Birkey.

Birkey said 22 veterans a day committing suicide, with more than 8 million adults diagnosed with PTSD and several thousand children. But there is hope with treating PTSD.

“EMDR, or Eye Movement, Desensitizing, and Reprocessing. The beauty in EMDR is that horrific things don’t need to be verbalized,” said Birkey.

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy in which the person being treated is asked to recall distressing images while generating one type of bilateral sensory input, such as side-to-side eye movements or hand tapping.

She concluded her presentation to encourage people to seek help, and that people should approach PTSD with care and compassion.

The afternoon concluded with a closing flag ceremony.

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