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Songs of freedom

Iraq vet combats PTSD, raises awareness through his music

Iraq veteran Jason Moon found that music was a way to heal his troubled soul. He will be performing for free on Veterans Day at Christ Community Reformed Church in Clifton Park.

Iraq veteran Jason Moon found that music was a way to heal his troubled soul. He will be performing for free on Veterans Day at Christ Community Reformed Church in Clifton Park.

— “It kind of got me out of that darkness,” he said.

He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and decided to spend all of 2009 learning about the condition and what he could do to control it. He started recognizing “triggers” that took him back to Iraq and did his best to avoid them. That meant he stopped reading the newspaper and watching the news.

That year, a filmmaker who was making a documentary on PTSD interviewed Moon and asked if he would contribute a song to the movie. The experience reignited Moon’s love of music and gave rise to an album about his war experiences called “Trying to Find My Way Home.”

“How do they expect a man to do the things that I have, and come back and be the same. The things I’ve done that I regret, the things I’ve seen I won’t forget, for this life and so many more."

Moon was surprised to receive an email soon after from a fellow veteran. He had been considering suicide until he listened to Moon’s music. He said it made him realize he wasn’t alone.

Then a mother reached out to him. Her son had heard Moon’s songs and broken down. He talked for the first time about his war experience and the effect it had on him.

After about the 10th email, Moon realized he had a chance to do something powerful with his music. It was a way to connect with other veterans who were feeling as isolated and desperate as he had been. It was a way to let them know there was help available, that suicide wasn’t the answer.

Moon started to reach out, looking for places that would host him for some music and some conversation. When he found people who were interested, it didn’t matter where they were.

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