I was in a Vietnam P.T.S.D. therapy group for almost 10 years. To be honest,the last
few years we got together to talk,a club of men who had one thing in common. All of us
were medics in Vietnam. In our group,we talked about everything, stuff our own families didn"t know.
The sad thing is last year, over 50% of my brothers died. Cancer or heart problems and one suicide. Now 7 are left, 3 have serious health problems. In our group we discussed what would give our life meaning. Don”t live in the past we were told, live in the present. The future is yet to come. Some wanted to write the novel to end all novels about war. Others wanted to paint, One simply wanted to see his daughter that he had yet to meet and she was now an adult. All of us had problems because of the war,or that we blamed on the war because it was easy.
We had one more problem we never talked about:time. Martin Luther King talks about time in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham jail”. He said, people say in time things will get better. The truth is time does nothing. In his letter,he said evil made much better use of time then the apathy of the good. In our case, we always felt we had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do. Stupid stuff got in our way and then it was too late.
The great “Fiddler on the Roof” has beautiful music in it. One songs words talk about “sunrise,sunset, I don”t remember growing older when did they?” One member has finally after 5 years of dating, asked his love to marry him. She said yes; he just found out he has cancer that has spread everywhere in his body. He hated to go to doctors. P.T.S.D. is not limited to war, it can happen to anyone who has been through something really bad.Here are things Vietnam guys like me were taught on how to deal
Turn around and look at the evil that happened and say" I have to let you go now." Some things that happen never get better,you learn how to live with it. Try and give whatever the evil was as little power over you as possible. You need to move on with your life! Live for this second, live like each day could be your last because it could be. My friend with cancer is going on a honeymoon before he starts chemo. He knows that his odds are slim but his laughter is still loud.
So here it is; VietNam veterans are geting old. We were you, now we are your grandparents. Inside us their rests unfilled dreams of acting and painting and trips that were never taken. We paid bills, took stupid jobs, and drank too much. We put off things because we would always be young. Anyone under forty I bet thinks the same
the same thing,you will be young forever. One day you will wake up and say "what
the hell happened? I am now 64 years old!
Take risks now! Follow your dreams now! If you fail,stand up! that’s how you are measured as a person. People change their minds all the time so its okay if your not quite sure. Don”t work at a job you hate! work for free at a job you love, sooner then you know, you will be making money. People in radio get their start that way most of the time. Wow, I wish someone had given me this advice when I was young!
You had it MUCH worse than we did. I am in awe of all of you, to go back to hell,time
after time, shows stength and courage that I am not sure I would have had. I served
two tours in Asia,I thought I was something,you are laughing,you have earned it.
Okay,I will quit talking,just remember our Country can NEVER repay you for the hell
you were put through.
You have earned the right to have a great life,don"t blow it.Welcome home and thank you for your service!