Saturday, March 31, 2018

Battle to heal PTSD began with Vietnam Veterans

Vietnam Veterans Service Did Not End
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 31, 2018

Yesterday, all across the nation, these men and women were honored for their service. How many knew how far that service reached when they said "thank you" to them? How many knew their service did not end when they came home?

To post this yesterday, would not have been as meaningful. The stories are all over the online world this morning, but as you know, they are all over this site on a daily basis.

Our Vietnam veterans managed to do the impossible. They came home hated, but did not give up on each other. They did not give up on any other generation, although the other generations of veterans did not welcome them. They were turned away but would not go away quietly.

What they accomplished needs to be acknowledged as benefiting every citizen. It was their efforts, despite how they were treated, that civilians receive treatment for the inner wounds after surviving traumatic events. It was their efforts that produced a clearer understanding of the men and women who serve as our first responders in law enforcement, fire departments and other emergency responders.

Vietnam veterans came home with the same wounds all other generations came home with, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While it was called many different names, the results were all the same. Wars they thought they were forced to fight alone within the borders of their own minds.

If you think that the stories of being mistreated were fabricated, then listen to MOH Sammy Davis talk about what happened to him. This interview was done at the Orlando Nam Knights, when he came to speak at a fundraiser for young veteran.

Before the ceremony, Sammy and his wife Dixie sat down, told me the story, and I had never heard it before. Still shocked, I was filming when his Medal of Honor Citation was being read. Here what happened to him along with what he did before he was treated as badly as he was.

Yellowstone National Park
A wreath was placed at the Yellowstone National Cemetery during the ceremony to remember those who fought and lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Navy Corpsman, Paul Thomae read a poem that said, "When I came home from Vietnam I wasn't met by a marching band. The crowd at the airport shouted and cried. They told us all that they wished we a died."
Roseburg National Cemetery
Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman thanked the Vietnam veterans for stepping forward and serving in an unpopular war. “When our country called, you did not hesitate to do your duty. Your dedication and sacrifice were ignored and belittled by America. The only welcome home many of you received was given by your immediate family or hostile demonstrators,” Freeman said.

Kansas City
They went where they were sent. That's what numerous U.S. Military veterans from the Vietnam period said during that gathering where retired soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors received a special lapel pin meant to honor them for their service.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood, the guest speaker and a Vietnam veteran himself, said when he came back from the war in 1969 people made veterans embarrassed about what they'd done in service to their country. Youngblood stayed away from veterans events for years, not because he wasn't proud of his service, but because no one else was. He was required to go to those events after being elected sheriff in 2006. They still made him uncomfortable, but gradually he's seen a change in how veterans are perceived.

"If you know a Vietnam veteran, I can't tell you what it means to shake their hand and say thank you," he said.
One of those who copes with not just physical wounds from the war, but also with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is Paul Clark, a Marine and retired Columbus Police Officer who was in attendance with his wife, and his service dog of two years, Alice. The 1961 Watkins Memorial High School graduate served from 1962-67 during the war era. Clark, a three-time Purple Heart recipient, was also awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry at Tam Ke.
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery
Since then, the cemetery has become the final resting place to more 3,700 men and women, according to cemetery director Don Murphy. And the numbers are growing daily, he said. In fact, the reason the flag was at half-staff was because there had already been one funeral there that morning.
When you look online for events in your area, be sure to read what the veterans had to say. Then think of their grateful attitude so long after they returned. Now maybe you will appreciate them even more.

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