Q: I proudly served in the Army. I served my country under the American flag and learned to respect the flag and the republic for which it stands. Over the last two decades, the Flag Protection Amendment to the Constitution passed by overwhelming numbers in the House of Representatives. However, each time the House passed the amendment, the Senate narrowly defeated it. The last two times, our senior senator from Illinois was a "no" vote. The Flag Protection Amendment bill is again moving through the House committee and eventually will be given a vote. The Senate has the Flag Protection Amendment moving through the Senate. With the change of party majorities since the last time the amendment was considered, what is the likelihood that the amendment will finally be passed?
A: Several laws have been passed by the House and Senate that were supposed to protect the American flag from desecration and misuse. However, these laws have been struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. From the court rulings, the only way to protect the American flag is by an amendment to the Constitution. It is likely the amendment again will pass in the House. However, in Illinois, both of our senators have indicated they will vote against the amendment. You should exercise your constitutional right to petition and contact your representatives and senators and give them the benefit of your position.
Q: I served in combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom and have been diagnosed as having PTSD. I am not unhappy with the therapy, counseling and medication I am receiving through the VA, but my progress is slow. I became aware that there are several treatment processes and approaches to helping a person with PTSD, most of which I have not had. Are there any sources accessible to me that describe the various approaches?
A: A new online tool is available to assist veterans to become aware of, learn about and compare effective PTSD Treatments. The PTSD Treatment Decision Aid is a free, interactive tool that helps educate patients and encourages them to participate actively in decisions about their care. The tool includes information about evidence-based PTSD treatments, such as talk therapy and prescription medication options. It also includes useful information designed for people who have served in the military. Users can watch videos of providers explaining different treatment options and what to expect with those treatments, and hear from veterans who have benefited from them.
Veterans also can build a comparison chart and print a personalized summary to share with their providers. All personal information is erased once the tool is closed. According to the VA, approximately eight of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lifetimes, and almost 620,000 of the veterans treated by the VA have a diagnosis of PTSD.
To learn more about PTSD visit the National Center of PTSD website at www.ptsd.va.gov. Health-care providers who have questions about the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid or other free resources can email the PTSD Consultation Program at PTSDconsult@va.gov or call 866-948-7880.
FLAG DAY is June 14. Honor our flag on Flag Day and every day.
The PRAIRIE AVIATION MUSEUM, 2929 E. Empire St., Bloomington, will have a special Flag Day event during the monthly Open Cockpit day scheduled for June 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Near the end of the day’s activities, the American Legion Honor Guard will assist the Civil Air Patrol in a dignified ceremony to retire American flags that are no longer serviceable.