One that serves our Nation in war never returns home unaffected by the travesty and horrors of war. Even those that sign and serve of their own free will, do not return from war the same person that bordered the plane on dispatch.
There is no way to prepare for the horrors of battle. You can train and specialize, justify, review and practice battle. Accept signing bonuses, justify war for God and Country, doesn't matter. Until you shoot or are shot at, Mined, Bombed, Booby trapped, Sabotaged. Loose a fellow in arms. Are wounded. Go without sleep for days. Are surrounded by death or the possibility of death for months at a time.
One can't pre concieve the actualities as well as the psychological effect of war.
I know for a fact that many Vets on the vine do not sleep. Fitful at best. Their past duty effects all facets of life. The attempt to shed the shocking painful past events of War are all consuming.
While some have been some what successful, most Vets with family in tow, if they are fortunate to still have family support, suffer for decades.
Post War Syndrome is very real. We didn't have a name for it when I was a kid. My Grandfather John, a Montana Cow Boy turned Navy Brown Shoe suffered from it.
WW II Vets were not ones to talk of War. those still with us are slow to share their war experiences.
My Grandfather never spoke of the War. Matter of fact, he never recovered from his war duty, Grandpa died from WW2 in 1983..
Then there was my Great Uncle Earl Toply. A Captain in the Army. Normandy invasion, Duty in Europe, Italy, France. Good man. War Hero. It took almost thirty years for him to die from his active duty.
Earl drank himself to death. Even though he had been successful as a N.A.S.A. inspector in Civilian life, he truly never returned from the horrors of War. The silence and calm of mundane civilian life had killed him.
Korea was my Dad's war. After being turned down by the Navy for an eye condition, my Dad had enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was First Calvary, Infantry. Dad drove a Half track. Slept in the snow on the ground. To say the least, Dad did not like camping in the snow.
My father was a good man. Successful carrier in education. He was admired by many.
Korea changed my Dad forever. Dad would transform after a few beers into a drunk battle worn Army Sargent. Although he would never talk of the war. He would live it night after night in his sleep. Another good man that had died in his 70's from a war that had ended over five decades earlier.
Vietnam. Cambodia. Laos. those were the war of my generation. as old to the present 20 somethings as WW1 and 2 were to me as a young adult.
I will only say that the Vietnam war and the Vets that returned from that war, some remain in Siagon,changed the way that our nation looks at foreign engagement. The majority of our citizens do not condone war.
Unfortunately, our Nation under the banner of democracy has been engaged in no fewer than 9 foreign engagements since the end of the Vietnam war.
Those that have served our nation have returned from war damaged by the realities of war. The men and women of our military service left our shores on their own free will. Believing that they were protecting our nation.
Rather they returned from conflict with that perception in tact is irrelevant. We owe those that put their necks on the line to protect our nation a congratulatory hand shake. Not only to those that served, but to the families they returned home to.
We honor the war dead of our nations foreign Wars. We honor our walking war dead that suffer from wars past..
A note of thanks. My thanks Goes to ILboy and others for contributing to the editing of this article. Mistakes are made at midnight. Thanks for your kind correction. Ray