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The people of Colorado Springs have long lived with a uniquely well-informed understanding of the vagaries of war, due to the concentration of military bases, soldiers and veterans here.

But following Sept. 11, 2001, we learned more, and more quickly, than most of us ever expected. U.S. Northern Command was installed here in response to al-Qaida's attacks, and the new "war on terror" sent thousands of soldiers from Fort Carson and elsewhere overseas. There they encountered improvised explosive devices, mortar attacks and suicide bombers.

Thousands of those service members have arrived home in body bags. More than 300,000 have returned with serious afflictions like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Fort Carson has had more than its share.

Thus, it's fitting that the mountain post should be one of the sites of a major military study exploring whether modern medicine, using concentrated doses of pure oxygen, can actually heal the brain.

Here, columnist and Springs native John Hazlehurst begins our 9/11-related coverage with a look at our city from 60 years ago, 10 years ago and now. Then, starting here, you'll meet some soldiers who've tried the new oxygen treatment and believe it works.

Finally, starting here, you'll find a story to start our Fall Arts Preview showing how one Colorado Springs artist has documented the fallout of war as it's shown on the faces of its injured soldiers.

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