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Former Homeless Veteran Describes How Horrors of War Continues to Plague Soldiers at Home

StoryAugust 22, 2005
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We hear a speech by former homeless veteran Ed Boyd. He says, "When the parade ends, and the military person takes off that uniform, and the horrors of war are still deep within them, and they can’t get help because the Veterans Administration has got a $2 billion shortfall, they enter into a world of real terror, drug abuse, alcoholism, violence." [includes rush transcript]

On Saturday evening, hundreds of supporters gathered under a tent at the Camp Casey Two. Before a performance by Texas musician Steve Earl, activists, veterans and military families took to the stage to address the crowd.

  • Ed Boyd, former homeless veteran.

TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is former homeless vet, Ed Boyd.

ED BOYD: I’ll tell you what I do in Baltimore, Maryland, and this is something that the news media refuse to tell, but I help counsel and I help deal with homeless veterans. Yes. When the parade ends, and the military person takes off that uniform, and the horrors of war is still deep within them, and they can’t get help because the Veterans Administration has got — has a $2 billion shortfall, and they enter into a world of real terror, drug abuse, alcoholism, violence in their — against their families.

The same person that their parents sent off is not the same person that returns home, and no one talks about that. No one talks about the dreams that we have. No one talks about the anger. No one talks about what can I do. I hear the vets every day. They’re coming back. They’re coming home.

How in the world can you tell a 22-year-old man or a 22-year-old young lady that they’re no good anymore because of what they have experienced, and they can’t tell anybody? I look in the parents’ eyes as they bring their kids. They say, "This is not little Johnny anymore." That is the part they do not even talk about.

And why do I get involved with it, because at one time I was one of them. When I came back home, the horror that I saw and experienced, no one — no one could understand. My mom could not understand where her son was. Physically I was all right. Mentally and spiritually, I was dead.

There are a lot of folks that are coming back home, and a lot of folks that are feeling the same way. And all our government has to do is say, 'Suck it up, drink a beer and keep moving.' I say no. We have to love our troops, and we love our kids. And we love our kids so much that we would do anything and everything in our power to keep them away from putting on them uniforms.

AMY GOODMAN: Former homeless vet, Ed Boyd. He now counsels homeless vets in Baltimore.

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