Memorial Day (A Break From The Q & A Session)

Today is Memorial Day. Generally speaking chiropractors offices are closed on this day. The same goes for most businesses. There is a reason they are closed. This is a blog about chiropractic, so I’m going to relate some information that most people don’t know about chiropractic as it relates to Memorial Day. (Source)

Chiropractors have supported our military and in particular the troops since the profession’s inception. World War I was the first war that chiropractic as a profession saw. One of the first recorded mentions of it’s support was in this excerpt from a 1917 letter to congress:

“Dear Sir: The members of the Oregon Chiropractic Association, through you, hereby offer to the President of the United States our services wherever the same may be required – at home or abroad…”

There were many DCs who enlisted in the military, though none served as chiropractors. Some of them joined the medical corp as enlisted men, despite their doctorate, and were highly appreciated by the doctors who worked with them. Harry L. Runge DC reported,

“I feel that being in the medical corps will offer me an opportunity to see and observe things which will be of help to me, especially when we get over to France. Unofficially I shall work in some adjustments.”

He also reported treating some of the medical doctors he worked with. Another soldier TJ Boner DC reported in a letter:

“…a man who would not join the colors now if he is physically fit is not worthy of being a Chiropractor. I agree with the man who said there are but two classes, one traitor and the other patriot. I am in the medical department of the navy, and every day I get in a lot of good work. The very nature of the work for the men at this place (a submarine base) is such that they have a good deal of back and neck trouble. I have the pleasure of adjusting every one of these cases, in fact every day I have quite a clinic, and the senior medical officer makes no fuss about it.”

The Mayo brothers (yes, as in Mayo Clinic) in 1917 were surgical advisers to the Surgeon General, a report stated that they, “saw a possible use for all of them [chiropractors] in the army service, particularly in the rehabilitation of disabled soldiers.”

Other members of the profession if not serving in the military raised funds, and gave all they could for this country and it’s troops often in the form of free care for veterans. This despite the persecution and animosity toward the chiropractic profession.

World War II began even while chiropractors were fighting for their profession. Many enlisted to serve their country and legislation was in the works to get chiropractors commissioned so that they could treat soldiers as chiropractors. Paul Smallie DC was a soldier throughout WWII. Regarding his enlistment he said,”..I heard the bugle blow….and it was beautiful”; he asked the recruiters “Where would it be calm and peaceful? They said ‘Hawaii.’ And I said ‘Hawaii for me!’ Ha! Peaceful? I was there December the 7th, 1941 and BANG! It was not peaceful!” He had joined the Medical Department of the United States Army… where he adjusted doctors, dentists and patients; his status as a chiropractor was widely known.

Chiropractor soldiers gave life and limb just as every other soldier did. There have been thousands of chiropractors enlisted in our armed forces many were decorated, all were heroes. They fight alongside their brothers during the battle and tend to the wounded when it is done.

USMC Lt. Col. Mark Losack

They were called “Chirons” in WWII. Many joined the medical corp, others went were ever they were needed. Chiropractors have served in our military since that time and continue today doing the duties that are required of them as marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen. When those duties are over they donate their services to their fellow soldiers. Lt Col. Mark Losack is a United States Marine. He’s also a chiropractor. He served in both Iraq wars. An exciting interview and story regarding this hero can be found here. I highly recommend the read.

In 1944 the bill to commission chiropractors failed, but that did not stop chiropractors from serving their country. Many more bills would come and go, and chiropractors still are not commissioned in the US Military. In 1992 congress passed a bill allowing chiropractors to be commissioned. In 2002 Chiropractic became a permanent benefit for all active duty personnel. This current decade has seen much in the way of advancement of chiropractic into the military. Chiropractors have longed to provide the care that our troops need and deserve, and now have a right to, yet still can’t receive.

I am the son of a hero. My father is a United States Army Veteran He served in the first Iraq war. He is currently serving the military as a civilian over seas. Though guaranteed chiropractic care he is unable to receive it. I too desire to serve my country in the US military, but I cannot afford to pay my student loans as an enlisted soldier serving in a capacity other than my primary training. Our United States Senators and Congressmen receive the benefit of chiropractic care. Do our soldiers in Iraq deserve less?

This is Memorial Day. It is a time to remember those who have gone before to prepare the way for us. Let us honor their memory by continuing to support our troops. If you would like to help them receive the chiropractic care that they need, you can. Visit Find out how you can help.


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