Dear Thomas:


For many of our soldiers returning from war, the battle does not end when they come home. All too many veterans today face Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms like anxiety, anger, and depression as they try to adjust to life after war.  We cannot sweep these problems under the rug.  PTSD is real. More must be done to educate veterans, families and communities about this illness and the resources and treatments available to them.


I recently learned about the efforts of North Dakota National Guardsmen to draw attention to PTSD and pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Joe Biel, their friend and fellow member of the 164th Engineer Combat Battalion. Biel suffered from PTSD and took his life in April 2007 after returning to North Dakota following his second tour in Iraq.


The efforts of Sgt. Biel's friends to raise awareness of PTSD inspired me to draft a Senate Resolution declaring June 27 National PTSD Awareness Day. This campaign is all about awareness, assuring our troops -- both past and present -- that it's okay to come forward and say they need help. They need to know that it's a real sign of strength, not weakness, to seek assistance.


I will present Sgt. Biel's friends from the 164th Combat Engineer Battalion with a copy of the Senate Resolution on Wednesday, June 2, at the Fargo VA Medical Center.  If you are in the area, I encourage you to join me in this effort to raise public awareness about PTSD.


Again, the event will be held Wednesday, June 2, at 10:00 am at Fargo VA Medical Center2101 Elm Street North in the UND Atrium.


I hope you can join us.




United States Senate


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