I never really knew a veteran before, but I know one now, and the things I have learned. Rarely does a vet speak of his/her experiences in a war zone…for good reason. The couple of small things I have been told are truly horrid.
There was an article in the paper a couple of weeks ago about Vietnam vets, now in their 60s and 70s, who are experiencing PTSD. It seems that generation of soldiers numbed themselves with drugs, drink, wild living, and work. Yes, work, long hours of work that left them too tired to think, too tired to have the dreams. Now that they are older, they long ago gave up the drugs, etc. and no longer work, so they toss and turn; they remember; they dream. It all comes back. Actually, it never left, it was just buried so deeply that they had no conscious awareness.
It’s easy to say “war is hell.” Those of us who did not serve have no idea what that reality is. Even those who say they weren’t affected reveal themselves in small ways: looking at a memorial and suddenly turning away to brush tears from the eyes; a deep quiet when certain things are said. Oh yes, it’s there to see if one looks.
I’m glad there are better ways now of dealing with PTSD; how I wish we wouldn’t expose young people to the things that cause it. Will we ever be truly human?
These photos were taken at the War Memorial in Dubuque, Iowa. Every war the USA has ever fought is represented. My photos don’t do it justice, as it’s truly a moving tribute.