From the Daughter of a Vietnam Vet

May 31, 2016

Before they had a name for it we witnessed the effects of conflict on the human soul. What war really does to a person to a family. Now they call it PTSD.
Childhood consisted of poppies & parades and visits to the VFW. We were told to hate Jane Fonda and forbidden to watch her movies. Family vacation included a visit to the Wall and no understanding why dad ran ahead crying. Only certain men were given hearty handshakes or hugs and told, “Welcome Home Brother” with the sadness in their eyes. It wasn’t until I was an adult I understood the sadness was for the ones left behind, they call it Survivor guilt now.
September 11th came and went and with it the flashbacks from another time, another place. Memories buried deep of the unspoken horrors seen by so many but spoken by so few.
These men are getting older they’re becoming more frail not just body but of mind as well. I don’t know what many of them will be doing this weekend, probably riding their bikes enjoying their freedom clearing their minds of the memories and escaping the pain.
I can tell you that my dad will probably be in bed just resting maybe weeping. Too proud to pick up the phone, he won’t reach for it, who would he call? What is there to say. Those men were spit on when they came home. He won’t be enjoying a barbeque or headed down the shore. He won’t go shopping to catch those sales at the stores. He will lay in bed and sleep the weekend away.
Memorial Day is not meant to be a vacation. Yes, life should be celebrated but many, many men and women struggle on a daily basis with what’s now known as post-traumatic stress disorder. For those who haven’t lived it I wouldn’t expect you to understand.
If you see a veteran this weekend, please shake their hand and thank them. Let them know that their life means something to US.

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