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Friday, April 20 News

Letters Performers support vets' services

Last year just about this time James Naughton, Leslie Orofino, Chris Coogan, David Buskin, Marshal Rosenberg and I performed at The Unitarian Church in Westport for "Stand for the Troops," an exemplary veterans'-advocacy group led by Eilhys England, widow of David Hackworth, the highly decorated Vietnam War hero who became an outspoken military critic.

On Saturday, March 22, in Washington, D.C., David, Marshal, and I will be joined by Bucky Pizzarelli, Ed Laub, Jim Breuer, Tom Prasada-Rao, poet veteran Jenny Pacanowski, and the Bacon Brothers band, featuring Kevin Bacon, to again raise a joyful noise for the men and women in mufti.

It's about post-traumatic stress disorder and the stigma of the proud admitting human weakness, and the soldiers and families and communities who pay the price.

Imagine this:

All veterans are required to see a shrink once a week for a year on the government's dime (our dime), paid for by slowing the rollout of the painfully redundant F-35 megajet.

It's like "Spartacus" when the Roman slavelords, not knowing which one is him, demand Spartacus step forward, and before he can speak, a trusted lieutenant steps forward and declares, "I am Spartacus." And before Spartacus himself can protest, another soldier steps forward and claims, "No, I am Spartacus," and one by one everyone in Spartacus's army of freedom steps forward and yells, "I am Spartacus," and the bloody Romans have no idea who is "the bad guy."

If every single troop stands up and says, "I'm the one," and then steps forward into some cool old shrink's office once a week, nobody gets to know who of these our brothers and sisters is "the bad one." Because we're all Spartacus. We're all in. And, by the way, we all get better. All of us.

Robin Batteau