My start in a more personal way of supporting the troops/vets began soon after I joined Google Plus. Some of you may be familiar with the social site and that is the link to my page for any of you who may be curious.
Needless to say, I have had many conversations with servicemen, veterans from the Vietnam era, the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans too. I’ve learned a great deal about the military; the tactical aspects as well as the emotional aspects. I’ve been blessed with trust from these men who opened up to me, even if just a little and I consider myself lucky.
It’s difficult for me to relate and to hear the anguish they deal with daily and have since leaving the war, but I try to understand their pain and their own way of dealing with their daily struggles; I am a shoulder or sounding board for any who needs to talk.
Earlier today I was having such a conversation with a Vietnam Vet, Special Forces with 4 tours under his belt. The conversation was a good length and he told me his tale.
With his permission, I am posting one of his comments that I thought most veterans could relate to in one way or another. I thought it spoke volumes and paints a vivid picture of ‘A Day in the Life of an American Vet.’ His name has been withheld.
When I dwell on the past, Lady Anna, I have to think about it for a moment and dwell where it is very dark. “Remember when, and how I continue today…”, was never something I wanted to do. I am starting to heal, but it was a hell of a ride. A nightmare for a childhood, and Nam has given me a Hell I just wish I could forget but cannot. There was a time that the losses really tore me up inside. I had brothers in arms, guys I loved, killed all around me and I thought I would be next. Over the years I did not want to know anyone’s name because it hurt to see them die. I never got over it all but now I deal with it by moving forward and fill the time used to think about it, with other things. My dreams I have no control over but my waking hours are mine to fill. I am glad you somewhat understand how quick things change, even though you were a different kind of survivor. I have lost every friend I ever made, guys with new brides, or babies, or short timers going home in boxes because they became complacent. All had much to lose, I had nothing to lose, and after the killing stops and I look around at who stands beside me, it’s never someone I want to see go home to family, it’s only the hard cores like me who lived to kill and revelled in the blood and gore. Much later after the high goes down, the beers are drunk, the whores are used and another mission crosses your palms and you realize some good people didn’t make it and it hits you. Years later it is still there…the smells, the sounds, the faces, all flashing like things lit up in a dark room by lightning. I have no release from this and guess I never will as I walk alone in the world and find solace in my woods on so many levels…with my cats. I plan and work on the future and choose not to Remember when….and in my personal life, I still walk with no friends beside me and its by choice. My only question is…..why me? My purpose has yet to be defined to me and that is a mystery I want to solve. Perhaps my path is to teach others..
- The Effects of Agent Orange Victims – Generations of Victims in Viet Nam (bonjupatten.net)
- Unique memorial honors Vietnam vets (krqe.com)