The stories of many veterans remain untold. There is no procedure or protocol in sharing those stories or keeping them to ourselves. We all walk a different path or at a different pace. Thirty years after I came home from Vietnam, our daughter asked, “Pops, why don’t you ever talk about Vietnam?” My response was, “No one is interested, and no one is listening.” But I was wrong. She listened because she was interested, and she wanted to know because she loves me. And I needed to tell it, for me, for her, and for many others.
Simply put, it is a dark part of the past, but speaking of that dark past sheds light and brings healing. Some of us will never be comfortable opening up that chapter of our lives to others. But it is a part of us. We become composites of what we’ve experienced, where we’ve been, and the people we’ve met. One chapter of our lives influences the others. Those who love us want to read that chapter too.
Family and friends of veterans, please be patient. Take what we can give. One Vietnam Veteran was asked, “When were you in Vietnam?” He answered, “Last night!” For many vets, it may be the distant past, but it is also very much the present.
Hopefully, my story will encourage you to tell your story and help your loved ones understand why we’ve guarded that chapter for so long.
Heard. Understood. Acknowledged!