War & Veterans | Hektoen International

“Mental Cases” by Wilfred Owen; the suffering of soldiers in World War I

Alice MacNeill Oxford, United Kingdom (Spring 2018)    Wilfred Owen Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight? Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows, Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ tongues wicked? Stroke on stroke of pain, — but what slow panic, Gouged these chasms round their […]

Thank you for your service

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States (Spring 2018)   US Military Hospital Kuwait at Camp Arifjan in the summer of 2005. As a reservist, I had heard those words on numerous occasions. I appreciated and understood that those words were not directed specifically towards me, but rather to the uniform that I was wearing. […]

Ought to kill or ought to heal? The importance of medicine in the history of warfare

Erick da Luz Scherf Santa Catarina, Brazil (Winter 2018)   A wounded American soldier receives a blood transfusion at an improvised hospital in New Guinea c. 1942-1945. Source: Daily Mail All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish […]

Blame

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia (Winter 2018)   US Army Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopter With so much intentional killing and death in war, one might think that an occasional accidental or natural death would go unnoticed and uninvestigated. This was not my experience. In war, killing and death are often viewed through a blameless lens. […]

The Changi diary and paintings: the partnership of a doctor and an artist

Robert Craig Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (Fall 2017)   Malnutrition, Pellagra (left), Tropical Ulcersa, Avitaminosis (middle), Glossitis, and Solar Dermatosis (right) in Australian prisoners of war.  Three paintings and a diary in a handwritten exercise book are in the collection of the Marks Hirschfeld Medical Museum in Brisbane, Australia. They represent an episode of extraordinary courage, survival, […]

Japanese-American internment camps in World War Two

Gregory W. Rutecki Cleveland, Ohio (Fall 2017)   Bill Mauldin’s cartoons regarding the NISEI 15   “What constitutes an American? Not color…race…An American…(is) one in whose heart is engraved the immortal second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.”1  “Any person who considers himself…a member of Western Society inherits the Western past from Athens and Jerusalem to […]

Francis St. Vincent Morris: the pilot poet

Paul Dakin North London, UK (Fall 2017)   Francis St. Vincent Morris I discovered his original notebook and correspondence when sorting my late uncle’s effects. They were given to him by Morris’ sister Ruth. Francis St. Vincent Morris was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. Three weeks after arriving in France he crashed in a […]

The aftermath of trauma

Shaili Jain California, United States (Winter 2013)   The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government. This writing is a work of nonfiction. In an effort to protect individual patient privacy, […]

The wartime chemist

William S. Tierney Cleveland, Ohio, United States (Summer 2012)   My great-grandfather was a four-star general. During the First World War, he was a commander in the trenches near Flanders when the first chlorine-gas impregnated shells fell from German skies, giving birth to a new era of wartime trauma. He was a chemist, trained at […]

Letter from South Sudan: war through a mother’s eyes

Wangira Dorcas Osunga Kenya, Nairobi (Summer 2014) Our village Mading is at the heart of South Sudan. We are 120 miles away from Juba, the capital. We are at the East Bank, fed by the White Nile. The weather is tropical, with a rare wet season. Our land is not green, nor does it bear much […]