Why a song like this, we asked Vigg Strubble. Vigg waits a little while, carefully looking down at the carpet of the thoroughly cleaned hotel room. Suddenly he replies: “It’s a very difficult issue. On the one hand veterans are in a special kind of way ‘untouchable’. Especially when they respond to their homecoming in a well accepted manner. As cool headed heroes. As super human beings who did remarkable things in extreme, violent situations. And still be able to deal with their horrifying experiences. I think that stress related responses of veterans (who have just been on the toughest battlefields) are quite normal.”
Interview with the singer & songwriter himself
1. Why this song?
Vigg sighs deeply and explains: “On the other hand, when veterans react differently after their homecoming, for example developing PTSS (sometimes called PTSD), a lot of the people back home tend to turn away. Sometimes because they cannot handle severe cases of PTSS, especially when it happens to their loved ones. At times people think that stress syndrome related responses of veterans are a bit peculiar.” Vigg states: “Look at how critically the recent impressive motion picture of Ang Lee on this subject has been received in the U.S.”
2. Special kind of involvement versus a possibly greater part of indifference
Vigg continues: “After the publication of the VA’s 2012 Suicide Data Report there was shockwave in the U.S. because of these dreadful findings. Also heavy responses and even some disbelief. Fortunately, there have been succesful initiatives after the first VASD Report, such as Veterans for Veterans, several Buddy programs, special prevention programs and even farms where stressed veterans can do useful work and come at ease at the same time.” Vigg goes on: “This kind of involvement is important in view of prevention, helping and caring. My song underlines that this good work for veterans (who can barely keep there heads above water) has to be done constantly. It’s the same story with other human problems we have to deal with in our society nowadays and that is…’’ Vigg pauses a few seconds: “…and that is to push back indifference.” Vigg concludes his explanation with the statement: “In regard to taking care of and sheltering these troubled veterans, we can do more and maybe better, in my humble opinion. I think that’s why I wrote this very delicate song.”
3. A sense of comfort while listening to Vigg Strubble’s song
Towards the end of this rather personal interview with the singer & songwriter we asked about his struggle with this song musically. Vigg Strubble replies: “Musically spoken the song turned out to be fairly dramatic. We have tried hard to sing the best we can on this track. I hope that people who have lost their loved ones, family members and friends in such terrible circumstances feel a sense of comfort when they listen to my song.” And Vigg ends our interview with the following remarks about repeating the theme musically: “After singing the harsh findings of the initial VASD Report at the end of the song, the musical theme starts once more, without our singing, after a little break. At the end of the video you can see the black horse calmly walking away, completely at ease. That’s when the remembering of your loved ones also starts, when they have passed away. You think of something nice or something beautiful when you think about him or her. And this kind of remembering never, ever stops….”
© part of the podcast used with the kind permission of the online music magazine MRH (N.#46/03/2017)
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More songs on the page Videos
- Operation NEVER Forgotten, National non-profit volunteer organization, U.S.: Retreats & Awareness for the Veteran Community. “We want recognition and remembrance.” Specialized in awareness campaigns, outdoor advertising, retreats and workshops
- Suicide Prevention Australia: “…remembers those we have lost to suicide and acknowledges the suffering suicide brings when it touches our lives. We are brought together by experience and are unified by hope” . Suicide Prevention Australia provides national leadership for the suicide prevention sector in Australia. SPA works collaboratively to develop a community that knows how to ask for help and how to give help
- Mind for Better Mental Health Organization, London, U.K.: “We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect”.
- Centre for Suicide Prevention, a branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Calgary, Canada: to educate people with the information, knowledge and skills necessary to respond to people at risk of suicide. To teach prevention because prevention is the only solution to suicide
- Book “PTSD: The War is Over: The Battle Begins”
2016, site Military Families Foundation, U.S.
- Movie Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
By Ang Lee, director (also director of movies like Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi etc etc) his recent, impressive story about PTSD (2016)
- Suicide Data Report 2012; U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); Mental Health Services; Suicide Prevention Program
Main source is the VA’s 2012 Suicide Data Report, which concluded the averaged range of 18 to 22 daily veteran suicides by using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Latest analysis of the Department of Veterans Affairs
(July 7, 2016): the most recent comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the U.S. Examining over 55 million Veteran records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the U.S. Based on the 2012 data the VA estimated the number of Veteran deaths by suicide averaged 22 per day. The latest analysis (2016) indicates that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide.
- National Veterans Foundation U.S.: Lifeline for Vets
- Vets Care 4 Vets Organization
After raising awareness of the pain that Veterans and their families are experiencing there is attention for the available treatment options.
- The Train a Dog Save a Warrior (TADSAW) program
- Australian Government Department of Veterans Affairs
Links to organizations whose aims and activities complement the VA of Australia.
- National Council for Aging Care, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.: guide on Military Veteran Benefit Options