Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

August 29, 2007

Why vets bristle at public fascination with celebrities

The public fascination with the lives of celebrities has a detrimental effect on combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

So says NIU student Ilona Meagher, author of “Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America’s Returning Troops.”

“Veterans are proud of the job they’ve done, and they have a right to be proud,” Meagher says. “After this incredibly intense, life-changing and maturing experience, they plop back into our society, and we’re taking about Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole and Lindsay Lohan. That’s the biggest slap in the face to them.”

Meagher says Americans need to be more engaged in veterans’ concerns.

“Our lack of attention and seriousness really does affect the way they feel about their country when they come back,” she says. “It’s not enough to report the death count in Iraq—we need to discuss the experiences of returning veterans.”