HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY


Dearest Readers:

It is with heartfelt pride I extend a proud and Happy Veteran’s Day to all Veterans who served our country. I have a heart filled with love, respect and pride for ALL VETERANS, especially the Veterans of the “Vietnam conflict.”

9th Inf Div, Commo Platoon_Aug_2007DSC_0170

As my loyal readers know, I am married to a Vietnam Veteran. Married only three months when he shipped out for Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day. What a broken-hearted Thanksgiving that day was for me. I remember crying and praying all day long for God to keep my soldier husband safe and to bring him back to me.

Years later, after watching my husband burst into rages, I researched to see what was going on within him. He would not talk to me. When he was tormented, I heard these words: “It don’t mean nothing.”

The fights and rages continued and each time he said, “It don’t mean nothing,” I realized his words meant a lot, especially to me. He was careful. Never did he show his rage in public. He only showed them to me. Never did others see him choking me during nights of fitful sleep. “It don’t mean nothing,” certainly meant something horrifying to him. When we saw the movies about Vietnam, one of the lines by a fighting soldier were: “It don’t mean nothing. Man. It don’t mean nothing.”

I tapped my husband on the shoulder. “You say that all the time to me.”

He looked at me in the darkness of the movie theater.

Once, after playing golf with his closest Vietnam friend, he came home and said: “Jerry thinks I have PTSD.”

“Oh,” I smiled. “Jerry thinks you might have PTSD. Guess what! I KNOW you have PTSD.”

A few weeks later, Phil decided to meet with his doctors at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. The doctors confirmed he definitely had PTSD. For those who might not be aware, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] wasn’t diagnosed until 1980. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/PTSD-overview/ptsd-overview.asp

In this household, PTSD existed much earlier while watching my husband jump practically out of his skin whenever he heard loud noises. Let’s not discuss fireworks. He shivers like a frightened child when he hears them. In the middle of the night, he would straddle me. Hands around my neck, squeezing and choking me while muttering something about “Charlie’s coming,” and a few words I could not understand in a foreign language – Vietnamese style.

On Veterans’ Day, I do not want to digress about Vietnam.

Today, after the election, there is so much hatred in America. How I wish all of those angry people would go to a church and pray — to rid their bodies of the hatred they have. We in America, need to give our new President Elect a chance to make America Great again. We should not beat others, knocking them out of their cars, kicking, screaming cursing at them simply because “You voted for Trump.”

We must move forward. We must fly our USA flags proudly, not burn them. We must say to a Veteran, “Thank you for your service.” Most of all, we should not hate.

To all of you who served our country, I shall say again: “Thank you,” and “May God bless you, and all of us in the United States of America, as we move forward to a new President.”

May God bless the USA. Welcome Home Veterans. HAPPY VETERANS DAY.

[The photographs posted are from the HHC 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. I love each and every one of you and your families. Happy Veteran’s Day! Photography credit: Barbie Perkins-Cooper]

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Veterans Day


Today is a Veterans Day. A day to be thankful for all that we are blessed to share in the United States of America. A day to give thanks, and a day to remember those who fought the wars and never returned home.

I was blessed to have my husband return home. No, he was not the same man I married. I observed much just by looking in his eyes, and the quick way he looked away from me. I knew there was sadness, and although I tried to get him to communicate his pain, he would not. He was so different. Angry. Suspicious. More quick-tempered than he was just before he left for the fears and devastation of Vietnam. Jealous — more prevalent than ever!

Over the years, I’ve learned what triggers him, and even though I cannot understand it, I am quick to let him know his jealous rages and fears are not directed at me, nor are they acceptable; therefore, I don’t tolerate them. I simply walk away until the storm dissolves.

Today, I hugged him, wishing him a Happy Veterans Day. Today, we have a new generation of Veterans, and I hope our nation will appreciate them and treat them better than the Vietnam Veterans were treated when arriving home. I recall when my husband arrived home, I stood waiting at the airport in Atlanta, GA until his plane arrived at 2:30am. I bounced into his arms, ecstatic that he was home. When we drove to Charleston for him to see his family, the reaction and welcome home was “Oh…it’s you.” No bear hugs. No embraces. No thank you’s…No celebrations…only coldness…Not even a home cooked meal, cookies or his favorite cake…this from his immediate family! I wanted to scream at them so they would welcome him home…

Today, my wish is that when a soldier returns from a tour of duty that his family embraces him or her and makes them feel as if they were missed and appreciated. I suppose we, the families of the Vietnam era, remember how cold and uncaring our Veterans from Vietnam were treated. At airports they were shunned…sometimes spat upon. Let us pray that this never happens again. Only last week on the evening news I heard about a bunch of soldiers returning home via airplanes. People from first-class of the flight actually acted first-class – giving up their first-class service and comfort so the soldiers could fly in first-class. This story made me proud.

Maybe the United States learned something from the Vietnam era. Life is so precious, and when we have life, we must cherish it. For Veterans, I say a simple thank you for your service and welcome home. I hope this Veterans Day 2013 is a joyous day for you and your family. Remember the good times and be thankful that today is a well deserved day of recognition for you. Happy Veterans Day, and Thank you for your service!Image

9th Infantry Division Reunion – Thoughts Before My Second Cup of Coffee!


Dearest Readers:

The posting below is one I wrote in the wee early morning hours of my husband’s Vietnam Veterans Reunion, held here in Charleston. This just shows, I should not post until I am completely awake. Somehow, I posted these comments in the comments section, not in the blog. This should teach me that I should have at least two cups of coffee prior to writing in my blog. Such is the life of a writer!

 

Another early morning amongst the velvet blanket of darkness outside. Across the street, I see a light glaring in a neighbor’s home. Sunrise will arrive soon, kissing the Charleston community with another blessed morning. Although it is early, I feel blessed. Over the weekend, Phil and I shared his 9th Infantry Division reunion — laughing, joking, listening carefully, and talking about a band of brothers experiences during a time of war…a time when America refused to support the war…Americans blamed our soldiers for the war…and all that happened during it. The Mi Lai Massacre…The Tet Offensive…and Agent Orange…other events that happened, which most Americans cannot understand — simply due to the fact that it is a war. Unless we were there, we the Americans, cannot understand.

With each of these reunions that Phil and I attend, I see a healing process. As you know, my husband suffers with PTSD. There are times I simply wish to run away from him and never let him catch me, or bring me back…but this weekend…was different. He only grew anxious once…Just once…and when I confronted him about his ‘grumpiness,’ this time — he appeared to listen to me…no fighting…no belittling me. Thank you, God! Normally, his ‘rage’ kicks in during these times, and knowing him as I do, and how verbally cruel he can be, I ‘handle the situation’ by walking away…attempting to ignore him. Unless you live with someone who has the emotional scars of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, especially from a combat zone, you cannot understand what we, the supporters of this ‘condition’ tolerate. Let’s just say, it isn’t a pretty package!

This weekend was different. When he grew so grumpy, I decided it was better to hang out with the girls and leave him be. For once, it appeared to work.

And so, to all of you who were here — at the reunion — a total of 16 people, I cannot thank you enough for embracing us into your extended family…Once just a ‘band of brothers…’ now…an extended family who may not understand…or just might understand what we…the wives, and family members experience whenever the PTSD triggers kick in. I would like to thank all of you, especially Dusty and Lou Dewberry for opening a door and welcoming us as a small portion of your extended band of brothers and sisters – from the remnants of the Vietnam War, slowly we find hope and acceptance. May God Bless All of You and may God keep you safe as you journey home. Thank you!

Some of the 9th Infantry Division, Vietnam Veterans, and Loved Ones at Angel Oak
Some of the 9th Infantry Division, Vietnam Veterans, and Loved Ones at Angel Oak

Veterans Day in America


Today is Veterans Day. A day to give thanks to all who have served in the United States Armed Forces. A day for America to SALUTE our Veterans!

As the proud wife of a Vietnam Veteran, I confess — veterans hold a most special place in my heart. While traveling to areas I write about, as I rush around the airports, when I see a soldier dressed in uniform, I always place my right hand over my chest, moving it quickly down — to give thanks to them. If time permits, I will approach the soldier and say, “Thank you!”

When I flew to Hawaii in July, I sat behind two soldiers. I was proud to see that American Airlines permitted the soldiers to board ahead of everyone else, and they gave these soldiers ‘complimentary food and drink.’  How nice…after all, isn’t it about time?

Still, I remember how our Vietnam Veterans were treated when they left for their tour of duty, and when they arrived home. It is unfortunate that my husband was one of the troops mistreated and spat on as he arrived touching the soils of America.

Vietnam was a dreadful pain for America. Protests were held, people shouting to the veterans, calling them ‘baby killers,’ and such. Never will I forget those incidents. I cried when I saw this happen. It wasn’t the fault of our soldiers. It was a war…a war America learned a lot from, and fortunately, America changed a few things!

Now, troops ship out in platoons…not alone…on a plane. When my husband arrived home, he phoned me from Texas, telling me he would arrive in Atlanta, GA at 2am. “I’ll meet you there,” I said, excited…My husband was coming home. We were newlyweds, so if you are reading this, you can only imagine how much my heart fluttered with excitement.

Sitting at the Atlanta Airport for several hours, I waited in anticipation! To say the least, his welcome home was fabulous for both of us. Later, after we moved into our home in Mt. Pleasant, our son was playing with a neighbor’s child. Our son mentioned that his dad was a Vietnam Veteran. The woman living at the house heard my son. “Baby killer,” she shouted! “Your daddy is a baby killer.”

My son rushed home in tears. He was only eight-years-old. He could not understand her anger. I held him tight, reassuring him that Vietnam was a sad time in America. When he calmed down, I knocked on the woman’s door.

Let’s just say — my Julia Sugarbaker style kicked in. Never did we hear from that neighbor again.

Today, I am still a proud Vietnam Veteran’s wife, along with our son. Every Veteran’s Day, I make certain my husband is treated with love and respect. I always thank him for his service, and I hug him tight. After all, this is his day. Let us never forget the veterans we have lost, and let us all give thanks for what they experienced. My husband has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. I am proud to say, his rages appear to be decreasing. Thank goodness. When he does have a nightmare, or something forces his PTSD to kick in, I have learned to treat him with silence.  As the wife, I cannot imagine what he experienced and he does not share those incidents with me. Still, I have all of his letters written to me — approximately 365 letters, still preserved as if they are new, wrapped with a blue ribbon. A few pictures are in those documents. I plan to send them to some military resource that might want to include them in Vietnam memories.

Today, I wish all of the Veterans Happy Veterans Day. America loves you, and we are so proud of you! Thank you for your service!