American Sniper was an emotional movie in my opinion, and to me was a movie about something more than a story about Chris Kyle who holds the record for most official kills in combat. For those who never served or have no connection with the military, you may have very well missed another storyline in the film that should be highlighted more in the media. If you want to question the number of terrorist kills Chris Kyle had during his service, go right ahead, but there is no questioning the effects war had on him and his fellow veterans. War is hell, but some of us will step up to serve our country and be willing to fight evil overseas keeping it from reaching our shores, even if it means risking our own lives.
In American Sniper we learn about an American who watches terror happening in his own country, and decides it his calling to step up and serve. It isn’t an uncommon story, and although we choose to serve for different reasons, we all believe we are doing the right thing which is to serve to protect our families, friends, fellow Americans and yes, our way of life. Our combat veterans will witness scenes they may have never witnessed before in life, as Chris did while serving as a Navy Seal. Like we see in the film, we witness the mental toll war can take on a combat veteran as Chris struggles with pulling himself off the battlefield even when home with his wife and kids. Chris would find a new calling once he completed his service, working with fellow veterans who also struggled with PTSD, but no one would see what was to come in the end.
Past, present, and future combat veterans will struggle with the affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and some will even take their own lives to end the pain. Sadly, civilians caught up in war will also face the same fate, and we will continue to try to find a solution to help those who suffer from PTSD.
Here are some facts (based on the U.S. population): By the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD
- About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
- About 5.2 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
- About 10 of every 100 (or 10%) of women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 (or 4%) of men.
The number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era: By the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD
- Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
- Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.
- Vietnam War: About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans (or 15%) were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
Although numbers tell us a portion of the story, how many veterans and civilians suffer from PTSD that aren’t accounted for?
What I believe people should take from this film, is the fact that war is hell, which we should already know. Those who face it can see their lives changed forever as they witness the horrors that come with battle. It isn’t just the veteran that will struggle with PTSD, but also innocent civilians caught in the middle. So you may wonder, why does someone like Chris Kyle join the military? Because as long as evil exists in the world, someone will have to step up for the protection of family and freedom.