Saturday, February 28, 2015

Every Generation of Soldiers has Struggled after Returning Home

Meet the 91-year-old whose wartime PTSD makes him the perfect guide for today’s veterans
Though the wars were different, every generation of soldiers has struggled after returning home.

February 27 2015 - They come into our office at the VA hospital in Montrose, N.Y., hesitantly. Eyes filled with doubt, hands restless. They want us to help them file compensation claims for disabilities resulting from their military service. Some have debilitating physical injuries, but almost every one also displays mannerisms — fidgeting in their seats, knees bobbing up and down during interviews, avoiding eye contact — that indicate that they have PTSD. The symptoms jump out at me because I have lived with PTSD for more than 70 years.

As a 91-year-old World War II veteran, I am not the most obvious choice to help these Iraq and Afghanistan vets, some of them almost four times my junior. In many ways, we fought vastly different wars, and more importantly, we experienced vastly different homecomings. But I can persuade them to talk by being forthright about my own decades-long battle with PTSD.

PTSD is not particularly associated with WWII vets, partly because the term didn’t emerge until after the war in Vietnam, and partly because we downplayed its effects. We’re “the greatest generation,” the ones that lived through the Depression and returned home as heroes. But war is war. read more>>>

"My Private War: Liberated Body, Captive Mind: A World War II POW's Journey

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