What do Harry and Meaghan, health care workers, our fine US military personnel, and loyal allied military friends all have in common? This is something more than a provocative rhetorical question. I will sow one seed for thought before elaborating – we in the United States are in the midst of a crisis that is not public enough in my humble opinion. It’s called an “Occupational Health Crisis”.
In the United States we really do not care, except perhaps as interested bystanders, in the current furors that are still ongoing as a result of Prince Harry’s and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s, interview with Opra several months ago. Without wishing to be judgmental I think that if I had been advising them both before that interview, which earned them a lot of opprobrium across the pond, I would have left family matters completely out of the interview, and discussed much more pressing issues of an international and humanitarian nature.
However, I find the subsequent Harry and Meghan talks and actions both of interest and important for several other non Royal Family reasons. Nonetheless there are connections, cause and effect, that indeed in any family can have ramifications outside what I think are strictly family private boundaries. Harry lost his mother in the saddest of circumstances for a young boy, walking behind his mother’s coffin that could only have been traumatic in the extreme. I have enormous respect and affection for Queen Elizabeth, who in my opinion is the greatest monarch in British history if one looks at her reign in perspective, from the days of Winston Churchill as British Prime Minister until today, a quite revolutionary period in global and British history. The fair and judicious have noted Her Majesty’s slowness to respond to Diana’s tragic death as perhaps a sad blemish on an otherwise incredible record of service and achievements. It took Prime Minister Tony Blair’s personal visit to Her Majesty’s Balmoral Scottish home to, in essence, direct her to return to London and join the British people in a period of intense national mourning. The young, impressionable Harry must have been affected by all this. Who wouldn’t? Then to add to this complexity is the issue of his father’s personal meanderings and clear love for another woman that he could never remove from his life, calling her indeed on the very night of his nuptials to his extremely young and impressionable bride, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Harry saw military service and was well regarded by “his men”. He became a stalwart in supporting the various Para Olympic games, and multiple other ways to show support and respect for those who not just served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but who were suffering permanently from their injuries. Harry has shown humanity. Then he meets the love of his life, and Eccentric readers do not need me to recite the rest of the story, except to emphasize that they are here in the United States, with two very young American children, the Windsors, with an American mother. As a total aside, do remember one key fact: Winston Churchill had an American mother. He was “Half and Half”.
Let’s now connect the dots. Leaving aside the nasty vitriol of the likes of Piers Morgan and other members of the less than erudite British press, where does the truth reside? We are well rid of Morgan and his like here in the United States, back now in the UK parleying his own brand of arrogance, smugness, and self indulgent conceit at the expense of people like Harry and Meghan. Objective criticism is fine, and loyalty to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is highly commendable, as long as it is balanced, fair, and tempered with humanity, not vitriol playing to an often less than well educated readership.
Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was a kind, caring, and compassionate person who gained global affection for her work in supporting the less fortunate, and particularly those suffering from the effects of wars and malnutrition. She traveled the world to support hugely worthy causes. She was much loved here in the United States. Diana was not highly educated and certainly had no medical credentials. Did this really matter? I don’t think so. Her actions and the undeniable positive outcomes speak for themselves. She died having given support to millions, with hope in her heart for those less fortunate than her. She left a legacy that I firmly believe Harry has inherited. He has his mother’s genes in my humble opinion.
Here is the connection, at last you say!
Harry and Meghan are not doctors. They are not practicing traditional medicine like “Doctors without Borders”, but they are contributing significantly just as Harry’s mother did. Yes, they are now California entrepreneurs, making a healthy living through Archewell and other business ventures. This is America. Why not? At the same time they are contributing through various means to one very important medical domain that is becoming a daily crisis in our country – PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) amongst several key sectors of the American people. In addition to the military sufferers from PTSD is a large, daily growing number, within our occupational health care community who are tired, exhausted, worn out, and suffering PTSD from the effects of the COVID pandemic. They have witnessed over 750,000 plus deaths, and worked day in day out to keep alive and ensure the recovery of millions more. Everyone has their breaking point, however physically and mentally strong. As a nation this is an urgent issue that must be addressed so that not only are our health care workers and military PTSD sufferers are taken care of, but a much more thorough and resilient strategy put in place to ensure the survivability of the health care system, while caring for those who have so valiantly cared for others at cost to their own physical and mental well being. The Infrastructure Program should contain whatever it takes financially for out Nation to respond to this crisis, because crisis it is.
In addition to our health care workers the other group that requires urgent attention is the military, serving and retired, and at whatever age. PTSD is still not adequately addressed, and the Veterans Administration requires significant funds to create an infrastructure that will help immediately those who need help, including when former colleagues, or family, friends, and neighbors recognize the need for intervention and urgent care, and make the call. The Suicide Hotline is simply not good enough. Too little, and often too late. The recent tragic suicide in the United Kingdom of Major General Matthew Holmes, CBE, DSO, the distinguished retired Commandant General of the Royal Marines (equivalent to the Commandant of the US Marine Corps) exemplifies that even at the highest ranks no one is immune from the effects of war and its psychological impact, a heartrending reminder that all are vulnerable, and all need care.
Within the greater scheme of things Harry and Meghan are two small dots but, as we all know, the whole is the sum of the parts, and they are doing their part. Harry knows what PTSD is, first hand, and he has a loving and caring wife who relates to those much less fortunate. We can all do our bit, even if it is only to join the clamor to ensure that the Federal government and, here in Virginia, the State government, step up to the plate and support those who have given their all to ensure that many may live. Leadership is what is now required, underscored by the key value that Diana, Princess of Wales, exemplified, compassion and caring in the service of the merciful heart.
Postscript to my October, 2021 Letter from The Plains: It is with considerable sadness that after publication of my October Letter I have to report that Commander David Lewis, United States Navy, the senior Intelligence Officer on board USS Liberty at the time of the June 8, 1967 attack, and a fine personal friend, has passed away. Dave was severely injured in the attack, the only survivor within the intelligence inner sanctum on USS Liberty when an Israeli torpedo exploded killing everyone in the space except Commander Lewis, who was protected from intense heat and blast by working at the time between a bulkhead and heavy security safes. I shall never forget how Dave explained to me that his highly classified Cryptic messages were on the desk of the President within minutes of transmission. What they were doing on board USS Liberty was that sensitive.