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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #8)

Mon May 28, 2012, 04:10 PM

14. People back then just didn't understand, SGMRTDARMY. They just didn't get it.

Last edited Mon May 28, 2012, 09:04 PM - Edit history (1)

Having come from that time, myself, many of us just didn't understand.

Yes, there were many among us (coming of age in the '70s) who protested the war and followed the carnage, and tried to understand the horrors of that reality that we were all so insulated and sheltered away from. I don't know of anyone in those ranks who responded to returning Vietnam Veterans with as much cruelty and ignorance as there was. But we saw it. And yeah, there were people who cursed and denounced. Not sure about the stories of spitting on returning troops and if it happened I completely condemn it! I would have, then, too. It was such a horrible morass that sucked some people down into a darkness where they would otherwise never have chosen to go.

And there was so little understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and what war does to you. Easy to misunderstand when all one does is watch it on the evening news and never sees or feels or smells or touches the bloodshed or wreckage or dismemberment or death. The human mind processes simplistically, it seems. Many of us when you and your brothers came home just did not understand. And there was precious little attempt to make sense of it, or to educate about it - mainly because there was so little public or official recognition of it. In some places it was just not even spoken. And people ACTIVELY sought NOT to recognize this as a fact, to acknowledge PTSD as something very real requiring proper classification and treatment and response. Easier to ignore it and sweep it away - and in true willful defiance of any 12-step program - to deny you even have a problem.

Hell, too many people TO VERY THIS DAY still scoff and sneer at the very idea of PTSD. "Just something those stupid naive lib'ruls made up to force me to pay higher taxes..." "when 'Real Men' know their job is to just shut up and get over it." But it's VERY real. You don't emerge from that kind of horror without being affected, without being changed, without being scarred. And it takes a LOT of work to heal that - not just within your own self as one who went to war, but also within all those around you who love you and live with you and/or see you or work with you or otherwise interact with you every day.

We've become a nation where empathy is laughed at. Laughed at!!!!! Sneered at. Scoffed at. Viewed as dehumanizing, somehow. As some sort of terrible un-American unpatriotic negative. Empathy somehow means you're weak and not a "real" American. Well, NOBODY quite understands what a "real" American is, anymore, and it sure as hell is NOT some John Wayne-meets-Steven Seagal-on-"24" hybrid. And it seems to me that's the biggest dishonor we show to our troops and our veterans.

Welcome back, SGMRTDARMY. Thank you for your service, and your struggle, and your sacrifice. It is very real to us here. I'm sure as hell not going to belittle it or roll my eyeballs at it or tell our Vietnam veterans (or ANY veterans) in their pain just to get over it. And you sure as HELL don't boo them as they cope with their own issues and struggles. Patriotism isn't just some slogan you slap on your back bumper. It's how you live your life and how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who cared enough to put THEIR lives on the line for this country.

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SGMRTDARMY May 2012 OP
liberal N proud May 2012 #1
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #2
calimary May 2012 #9
tclambert May 2012 #11
Frustratedlady May 2012 #12
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SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #5
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calimary May 2012 #10
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NYC Liberal May 2012 #21
Tarheel_Dem May 2012 #4
AlinPA May 2012 #6
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #8
Frustratedlady May 2012 #13
LineLineLineReply People back then just didn't understand, SGMRTDARMY. They just didn't get it.
calimary May 2012 #14
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #35
calimary May 2012 #37
pinboy3niner May 2012 #34
NYC Liberal May 2012 #22
SunsetDreams May 2012 #23
Scurrilous May 2012 #27
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