Medal of Honor shines spotlight on PTSD (Editorial)

Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, a former Fort Carson soldier, was rightly awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday for his “conspicuous gallantry” during a 2009 battle in Afghanistan.

But Carter also deserves a nation’s thanks for bringing attention to the thousands of soldiers like him who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

President Barack Obama awards US Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

President Barack Obama awards US Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

President Barack Obama described how the soldier repeatedly braved a “blizzard of bullets” to resupply fellow warriors with ammo and carry a wounded comrade to safety, but also noted Carter’s post-combat bravery.

“Let me say as clearly as I can,” Obama said, “he is as tough as they come, and if he can find the courage to seek help, so can you.”

In an interview with CBS, Carter explained how he decided to speak out about PTSD after going through it himself. “I don’t like the ‘D’ on the end,” he said. “I don’t believe in calling it a disorder. I believe that it’s your body and mind’s natural reaction to something traumatic.”

Carter’s story shows how far the country has come in recognizing an affliction that has caused so much suffering, and the importance of treatment for these invisible wounds of war.

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