More on Vets Cover Story

Our thanks to several people for the cover story in the current edition of The Memphis News on veterans of Iran and Afghanistan wars.
First to Willie Logan, communications direction for the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, for putting us in contact with three of those veterans without whom we wouldn’t have been able to tell a story that needs to be told.
And thanks to those three veterans Tephanie Rainey, Patrick Crowder and Robert Littlepage for sharing their stories with us. They are not easy stories to share because anyone’s experience in war and returning from war is going to be about as personal a story as anyone can tell. None of them even so much as flinched or hesitated in any way to share with us.
They did it because they hope that others will realize what they are going through is something others have experienced and that others have survived.
The cover story grew from an earlier story we did in the daily in which we talked with Dr. John Whirley, a Vietnam veteran and a clinical psychologist.
Anyone who remembers the times in which Vietnam veterans began returning in large numbers to American society probably has some inner desire to see that future veterans returned to something better than those veterans did. Decades later, it is hard to exaggerate just how much so many of us wanted that war to go away. That included some of those returning to discover that as much as they wanted it go away, it wouldn’t. Nothing would ever be the same.
And the mythology of the World War II veterans was that soldiers returned from fighting wars and got on with the rest of their lives as if the war had been a momentary interruption. At the same time, another mythology arose — the crazy Vietnam vet. Those four words sealed themselves together. They unjustly defined the majority of veterans who rapidly adjusted back to civilian life. They also put a convenient social diagnosis on a number of specific problems.
Forty years after Vietnam, we know more including that post traumatic stress disorder is not something made up or all in the mind. Research has documented changes in brains as a result of the disorder. And there is a way out — a way to heal.

Dansette

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