AN EXCERPT

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  COMING JULY 2019!
 
 
             A LOOK INSIDE !
 

When we came back from Vietnam – not just Shep and me, but all of us – there was no time for adjustment to civilian life. Our fathers were welcomed home from war with a sense of “mission accomplished”, anxious to marry, start a family and have the proverbial home with a white picket fence. Those who served in Vietnam, both in combat or in support expected to come home in the same way. The truth is that wasn’t going to happen. Instead of welcome home parades the streets were lined with protesters. You were advised to not wear your uniform home and if possible travel in the later hours. It was not uncommon that the returning Vietnam veteran would be spat upon and have relentless insults and threats yelled at him. Shep and I, and hundreds like us, came home with baggage. It was baggage never before dealt with openly. We arrived back with a suck it up and deal attitude. Some were bothered by the protestors while others joined them. The truth is that all of us were hardly more than kids and each in his or her own way fought the war. Whether you were humping through the jungles of a fucked up war, marching in the streets, or trying to figure out a new life in Canada, you, your parents and so many peripheral to you fought the same damn war. The government and the Veteran’s Administration wouldn’t acknowledge the baggage these service men and women carried. Rather than deal with it they denied it. Today, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is part of America’s lexicon. It is recognized (even moving from being called a syndrome to a disorder), and treated now. That’s not to say Shep and I lingered in this shadow of war or that every returning veteran dealt with it, but that it was ignored and buried in paperwork reflected the mood of our country. For a great number of returning veterans, often not even knowing that they were dealing with anything, it became part of their daily routine. Shep and I had strong women. They cared about us and all of our fragmented parts, loved us, and gently walked at our sides. Other friends stood at the ready too, and slowly, in baby steps, we put scattered pieces back together – maybe not as they were, but together nonetheless.