Veterans' Voices: PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Veterans’ Voices is a new column directed toward veterans and their families who have given so much to ensure our freedom in this country. This is an area where you may share your experiences, or read of other veterans’ experiences. We thank you for your service, and hope that you know how much you are loved and appreciated.
Nearly 3 million service members served in Vietnam alone, and most returned home. But since then, thousands of Vietnam veterans have battled PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — and it has impacted their lives and the lives of their families in many ways. Returning without a proper homecoming compounded the issues veterans faced upon their return.
PTSD is rarely talked about openly, but we all hope to shed light on what our Vietnam veterans — and their families — have gone through since their service in Vietnam.
I think since I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I know many others have also, we have an injury that no one can see. You know, if you lost an arm or leg during combat, it’s obvious to the common person what’s wrong. But this disease is internal. However, it can be just as bad as losing a limb.
The reason I bring this up is because June 27 was PTSD awareness day. We should recognize our Vietnam Veterans and thank them for their service. And I don’t mean just the Vietnam Veterans. I mean all Veterans and all wars. Also, thank the families that were home waiting for their loved ones. They went through their own war.
The War may be over, but the battle continues for many veterans and their families to this day. I remember one of Toby Keith’s song lyrics that states “We go and spend one year in a war and fight the battle in our heads for the rest of our lives”.
When I went on the Honor Flight with Bob McCracken a few years ago, we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site in Washington, D.C. We honor and remember their sacrifice. They will not be forgotten. There are two walls that are 200 foot long and contain more than 58,000 names. I saw five of my buddies’ names on there that paid the ultimate price. They were all 18 years old, the same as me. There is also a Three Serviceman Statue that honors those that fought and returned from the war. It shows them standing, keeping watch over the wall. The three figures represent a Hispanic man, an African American man, and a Caucasian man — ethic groups that were heavily represented in the war’s combat forces.
That standing memorial reminds me of all of our sacrifices. I think the schools need to teach the young students about our struggles and experiences defending their values and freedom and give thanks to every Veteran they come in contact with.
Enough of the babbling. Veterans, honor yourselves and thank your families for not only going through their own war while you were away, but also putting up with your crap since you returned home. If you have any recommendations, or just want to say “hi,” don’t hesitate to email me at aboutVets@yahoo.com.
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Royal Goodman, U.S. Army,
Vietnam/1st Cav, 9th Infantry