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July 08 , 2009

The War Within

One More Step at a Time


Your compassionate portrayal of Lieutenant B.D.'s recovery and struggle . . . has touched our Warrior family and opened the eyes of the rest of the world to the physical, emotional, and personal challenges our soldiers face."

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No rogue regime ever needed its evildoing professionally reframed more urgently than Greater Berzerkistan, whose president-for-life Trff Bmzklfrpz (pronounced "Ptklm") needs to spin a recent round of ethnic cleansing. Fortunately, the pariah state (and its 50-hole golf course, built overnight by Kurds and Jews) borders Iran, a fact that K…

The initial stages of B.D.'s recovery from losing a leg in Iraq were dramatically portrayed in The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time, but his healing journey was far from over. As this powerful sequel shows, the "war within" can be a long and lonely struggle, hardly the life of a "glamorous amputee" imagined by his daughter's jealous classmate. With his coaching job at Walden re-secured and the marathon PT sessions paying off, B.D.'s return to normalcy seems to be progressing well. But those who love him see alarming signs of trouble, namely anger and alcohol. 

First there's the punching of an MP. Then there's the daily breakfast of beer, a subject not open for discussion even with a best-intentioned friend like Mike Doonesbury. And "the screaming at night isn't very Christmassy," Boopsie notes. As B.D. admits to his doctor, "I'd rather sleep with my weapon than my wife! How messed up is that?" Messed up enough that our wounded warrior forces himself to begin circling the local Vet Center, where he is gently and skillfully reeled in by a remarkable counselor and fellow Vietnam Vet named Elias. Their sessions together form an extraordinary and moving chronicle of catharsis and coming-to-terms. The words "Welcome home, soldier," are powerful and transformative, and B.D. is fortunate in finally getting to a place where he can hear them.

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