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We can offer hope

Dear Editor:I am compelled to write regarding an Associated Press article regarding casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this war, studies show a survival rate from wounds as one death to every nine traumatic injuries. This is a high survival rate compared to past wars. Yet, with no arms or legs, how many of us would like to live? We are not talking mild trauma, here. We are talking about many amputations, some soldiers surviving three or four amputations. (Of course, these statistics do not include innocent Iraqi casualties, which are nearly impossible to track but don’t seem to matter to most Americans.)I recall a Metallica lyric about a quadruple amputee from World War II, confined to a bed, and kept alive by machines: “Hold my breath as I wish for death, oh God please help me.” Here in Aspen, Challenge Aspen has been created, an organization for which I have never worked. I will volunteer to help any program to help our veterans coming back from this mismanaged war. Technology protects many soldiers’ vital organs yet does not exist to replace multiple limbs. The Bionic man/woman is still a television series from the ’70s. Challenge Aspen has a challenge ahead, as young, previously able-bodied adults come back home and look for a normal life. If statistics hold true, then if everyone came home today (yeah, right) we’d have close to 10,000 disabled veterans. I suggest in Aspen, a place where we have compassion, resources, skills, and environment, we open our arms and make life best for those who have made the sacrifice for a mistake. Those who still have some limbs can still ski, golf, hike, fish, and enjoy many other outdoor sports if they are inspired. I imagine that through sleds, boats, and other toys, we can even keep those with no limbs inspired. I am fast to admit that if I had no limbs (and I’d never offer them up for a war I don’t believe in), I’d feel hopeless. Yet we can perhaps offer hope, as that is still the Aspen idea.Chris “Dogger” AndersonAspen