A Documentary In The Making
This newly-produced trailer contains interviews that will be included in the feature-length "Why Can't We Serve" documentary. In 6 and a half minutes, you will appreciate the depth of this cause, the many lives and deaths that are involved, and why you should support this documentary project.
720p HD version
360p version - Might display better on slower Internet connections
Logo: Why Can't We Serve
On screen: Marty Klein, Sargeant, U.S. Air Force, Writer, Musician, Yoga Enthusiast
I came down with an eye disease while serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and soon after lost my vision completely. I was devastated, obviously. I was discharged out of the service and sent home. I didn't know quite what to do or which way to turn. My friends didn't know how to relate to me and I didn't know who I was--a person without sight. I tried going to school on the GI Bill. I got a small pension and some free college, but I had no attention to learn anything. Internally, I was freaking out because I was blind. Soldiers are coming back with combat wounds and they're being discharged from the service. They're despairing because they can't stay in the military; a lot of them wanted careers. They're going home, their friends don't know how to relate to them, they don't know how to relate to their life now with a disability, and many of them are committing suicide. Right now, 22 vets commit suicide every day. As we speak, it's happening. And one out of every three of them are under the age of 49. This is an ongoing tragedy and it's got to stop and we've got to do something to help stop it.
On screen: Larry Winters, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired, Mental Health Counselor
If someone is injured, they find a job for them, they keep them involved and engaged in life instead of discharging them. And the fact that in your view, in mine as well, veterans that have been discharged that had a had a career planned are suffered a great deal. It's similar to that for a combat soldier or anyone that's leaving the military, whether you're injured physically or psychologically or just having to adapt to the fact that this is a completely different world after you've been immersed in the other world. And it's just sort of like what you're saying. The military sends these soldiers into battle and then kicks them out when they come back when they're disabled.
On screen: Anthony Forte, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired
Here recently have asked me, "Well, do you miss the Army?" No, I don't miss the Army. I miss soldiers. I miss the interaction. I miss the support. You become somebody else. I don't know who I am now.
On Screen: Bill Forte, Sargeant 1st Class, U.S. Army, Retired
Team. You are a team. And when you're... It's like playing baseball. All of a sudden you're taken out of the lineup. You feel like you can still contribute and you're not even given the chance to show that you can contribute. That's what's happening with a lot of the service members. You know? Okay, you're missing your foot. So you're no longer any use to us. So many ways you can still contribute. You can still feel a part of it. You can feel like you make a difference, instead of being, like you said, handed a check, have a nice day. It's not right.
Most vets would prefer having a paycheck rather than a disability check. Disability check is money to help them pay their bills, but it doesn't help them have a life. Having a paycheck at a regular job still in the military gives them a chance to still be part of the team, to still serve in a way that they feel like they have a purpose in their lives.
I got to tell you, in the last few years it's been hard because, I'm going to miss Lieutenant Colonel Kelly Hodge a lot. His retirement tour was working for me doing global force management. He was right where I am today, and he broke, and he's one of those statistics now. He took his own life. He didn't know how to adapt. I don't think we did enough for him. We missed something. You understand that people get hurt. You understand that people get killed. But what we do can take away all hope. It can take away your identity. It can take away your belief in just about everything. And we have to find a way to give it back to 'em. We have to.
There's incredible resilience in people, and if they are doing something, all their mental health issues began just to diminish, because they're functioning. They have an identity. They have a way that they produce and create in the world. I don't think there's anything more healthy than spontanaety and creativity in a human being's life. There's no med that does this. There's no med that fixes this.
I think there's a direct correlation between those suicides and the lack of disabled people in the military.
On screen: Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense
Recognizing that our openness to diversity is one of the things that have allowed us to be the best in the world. We must ensure that everyone who's able and willing to serve as the full and equal opportunity to do so. Embracing diversity and inclusion is critical to recruiting and retaining the force of the future.
I believe that Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is sincere with his desire to end all forms of discrimination in our military. He's still missing one group: people with disabilities. Let's work together toward reaching equality for all people with disabilities as well.
On screen: Producer & Director, Marty Klein. Associate Producer, Rosary Solimanto. Consultant & Best Friend, Charlotte Tusch Scherer. Cinematographer & Editor, Michael Nelson.
On screen: whycantweserve.com. ©2016 Marty Klein Publishing. All Rights Reserved.