Dear AMU and APU students, alumni, faculty and staff members,
While I have not written to all of you very often, there are moments in the life of the country and the university that call me to start a conversation. I am reaching out to share some thoughts regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the events happening in Afghanistan, as well as the upcoming 20th anniversary of September 11.
Many veterans have strong feelings from memories of service and sacrifice, as will all those old enough to remember what unfolded on Sept. 11, 2001, at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The outcome of those events changed our lives, including those of many brave men and women who voluntarily put first the mission of service.
I believe the world is a safer place because of your service. The sacrifices our country and our citizens made were not made in vain. The last 20 years of greater security at home, and greater freedom in Afghanistan, are remarkable accomplishments that few predicted at the outset. We might all wish for more, but, still, we can be grateful for what was done.
Our nation often calls upon the military when politics and policy run out of options. My grandfather served in World War I. He was heartbroken to see the next generation return to Europe to finish the work, but he never doubted that he had done the right thing in his service. He risked his life, helped bring a terrible conflict to an end, and the solution worked—at least for some time. He lived cheerfully into old age knowing he had done what duty asked of him.
Nothing I can offer will change what you might be experiencing, but please know our community is filled with people who would want to talk about the events happening today and over the past two decades. We hope we can share experiences with each other, a squadmate, battle buddy, friend, or family member. I encourage you to consider connecting with a friend who lost someone—even if it has been years since your last communication. Connecting and discussion can heal. It can help someone you may not have realized who needs to reconnect. It can even save a life.
There are many resources to help, and several are listed below. Your APUS faculty and staff are affected as well. We are here to listen and support those who might need it. We need you to be part of the conversation today and always.
Thank you and God bless you.
Wade T. Dyke
Please feel free to reach out if we can provide support and consider sharing the resources below with others:
- U-Will Teletherapy – https://www.uwill.com/
- APUS Chaplain Services – Chaplain@apus.edu
- Veterans Crisis Line – If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
- For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.
- Vet Centers – Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.
- The Veterans Crisis Line offers online chat here: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ and text at 838255.
- RallyPoint – Talk to other Veterans online, in this forum: What are your feelings as the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan after 20 years of US involvement?
- VA Mental Health Services Guide – This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.
- MakeTheConnection.net – Information, resources, and veteran to veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.
- VA Women Veterans Call Center – Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 6:30PM ET)
- VA Caregiver Support Line – Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 5PM ET)
- Together We Served – Find your battle buddies through unit pages
- Team Rubicon – Find a local support squad
- Download VA’s self-help apps – Tools to help deal with stress, sadness, and anxiety.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) – Request a Peer Mentor
- American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network – Peer Support and Mentoring
- Team Red, White & Blue – Hundreds of events weekly. Find a chapter in your area.
- Student Veterans of America– Find a campus chapter to connect with.