You Are A Hero –PTSD

October 12, 2011

I am amused about how people call those who serve heroes.  That is not to say that some people truly are heroes and do heroic things in times of emergency.  I think the firefighters who went into the 9/11 building knowing the already present dangers were heroic.  Someone diving on a hand grenade to save his/her comrades is a hero and there are many other heroic examples that can be cited.  But for the most part, even though I served in <strong>Vietnam</strong> for one year I don’t really see myself as a hero.  I was simply doing a job.  I actually received a Bronze Star, not for bravery, but for service and all officers who served in <strong>Vietnam</strong> got these same Bronze Stars.  Enlisted me received service medals too.  So it sort of cheapens the whole idea of a medal.  If we are all heroic then none of us are.  Sort of like everyone in youth sports gets a trophy.

If we were all heroes why did they pay us such crappy salaries?  I guess I had better get off the soapbox and get back to the PTSD .  When I returned home from <strong>Vietnam</strong> I was a hero to my family and to some of my friends, I do believe.  Because they chose, or were lucky enough, not to have to go to <strong>Vietnam</strong> then I guess it was somehow their way of paying excuse payment to their own choices and good luck.

For most people, they could care less one way or the other whether I was in <strong>Vietnam</strong> or at home in my underwear watching TV.  Every day when in <strong>Vietnam</strong> I was aware that it could been my last day and never before or ever since did I always know the progress of a single year.  Normally they just fly by and then you looked up and it was New Year’s day and another year had passed.  When in <strong>Vietnam</strong> I always knew how long I had been “in Country” and how many days until I could leave the place.  We would celebrate others who would be “Short” or ready to travel back to the United States.  We would look forward to the time when we would be celebrated.  But in between we had to deal with the sights and sounds of War.

I now hate to see how War is glorified.  Indoctrination of the young men and women who normally might balk at the idea of potentially surrendering their lives and limbs  for something they don’t at all understand, is actually hurtful to me.  Then when this idea is wrapped in the flag with the dream of being a hero these same innocents start to be brain washed for the cause.  They are actually becoming trained killers.  In a World where everyone boasts and brags about body count, deaths, and suffering  and these terms become hum drum and mean little to you and they are all lumped into this same nightmare that you can’t awaken from. I know most do not want to think about this, but your children are being trained to kill others. Not only bad guys who in your mind you fee deserve it but women and children too.  Depending on your viewpoint these bad guys are labeled heroes to our enemies.

My PTSD came from this experience.  Trying to come back to a World that wasn’t like <strong>Vietnam</strong>,  to my home where those I loved called me a hero and told me how proud they were of me was like fingernails on a chalkboard.  I hated being in <strong>Vietnam</strong> and then when I came home I hated everyone saying how much they appreciated what I was doing.  It is even worse now because there are no draped coffins coming home to remind everyone what they signed up for.   The  deaths and sorrows which should be constant reminders to us are hidden and masked.  Most people are only vaguely reminded that young people are losing their lives and arms and legs and for what?  Saddam is dead, Bin Laden is dead, the Taliban is gone, Al Queda is down to less than 100 people according to the latest reports.

I wish people could follow the old saying “If you could walk a mile in my shoes”.  Suppose the tables were reversed and some foreign powers were walking the streets of the United States, kicking in the doors and entering our homes at all hours of the day and night, screaming at you in a foreign language and disrespecting everything about you.  What would your reaction be?  Would you do nothing or would you think more likely that your sons, your daughters, your husbands and perhaps even you would try to do whatever you could to rid your Country of this enemy?

We need to come home.   Our troops have completed the job they were asked to do.  If you want to support the troops you can do it quite easily. Start demanding their return.  Demand it with your voices and your hearts.  Demand it from your Congressmen and women.  Demand it from your friends and families.  Find ways to convert people around you and on your social networks.  The money we are wasting could find much better purpose then to be dumped into this rat hole called War.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.