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#127287 - 06/07/04 07:48 AM D-Day
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Have been finding myself unexpectedly transfixed by all the coverage of the anniversary.... On a personal note, I am in AWE of the veterans who survived such tremendous hardship, who saw so much death & destruction, who went on to lead honorable, productive lives. Was there something different about that generation? How did they manage to emerge from all of this without a hint of the "symptoms" of "shell shock" that we have come to associate with WWI or with Viet Nam, The Gulf War or Iraq?

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#127288 - 06/07/04 09:53 AM Re: D-Day
Pollyanna Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Missouri
Hey...

I had a discussion about this a couple years ago with my cousin who spent quite some time doing "special missions" in Viet Nam.

He said he felt that the "times" were a major factor in why Viet Nam vets had such a significantly harder time living than other war vets. In the earilier times, when the guys were ready to come home, they spent long periods of time on boats, where they could be together and talk about things. He said he felt like they had the opportunity to come to terms with things better before they actually came home... like right after the experience, being able to put it in it's place. Now, they hop on a plane and in a few hours they are whisked from horror and thrown back into a society that can't possibly comprehend what they had just been through.

Viet Nam vets also weren't received home with the "warmest" welcome, which wasn't fair.

My cousin suffered severe PTSD. I guess 'special missions' will do that to you. He spent his life trying to help other vets, and was very vocal in New England as to those issues, POW/MIA stuff, and the V.N. Wall. It never took away the flashbacks, the fear, or the guilt he felt for being part of things he had never even comprehended could exist. To someone who didn't know him, until a few years ago, it looked like he had a normal life and that he was dealing with things pretty well.

Anyway, that was what he said he thought the difference was in the way earlier war vets were able to cope, as opposed to him and the guys he knew.

He died alone in his house in the woods of New Hampshire a year ago in February on his 51st birthday. The last few times we talked, he sounded much like the guys here. Not able to sleep, frequent flashbacks, horrible dreams, and lots of fear.

So senseless what we humans do to each other.

I miss him.

Lynn

_________________________
"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."

– Anne Lamott

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#127289 - 06/07/04 10:56 AM Re: D-Day
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I am sooooo sorry for your loss!!

I wish I had had the opportunity to correspond with him - he sounds like he was a very brave person & a real teacher.

Did he ever mention WWI by way of comparison? Before there was "PTSD," there was "shell shock." Believe it or not, I worked with a very old gentleman at one of my prior jobs in the early 80's who remembered the homecoming from WWI when he was a little boy. The vets were given great respect upon their return, but many of them suffered "symptoms" for years....

I am wondering why the difference?

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#127290 - 06/07/04 11:10 AM Re: D-Day
Pollyanna Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Missouri
I don't know if there were any other differences...he just mentioned that the earlier vets had "time" to process things, and I guess "commiserate" together before being reabsorbed into a society that didn't WANT to understand the atrocities they had just been through. He never really differentiated between the world wars. Just between them, and the V.N. vets.

We had some really cool conversations, and I am sure you would have appreciated him. Somehow, he kept his outrageous sense of humor. The thing he stressed was how unbelievable it was to be an innocent 18 year old raised in a nurturing environment, and then tossed into a physical and mental jungle where nothing made sense. Then forced to do things he had never even dreamed existed. He said he was lost, and it wasn't even him. He was just going through the motions. Gee, sounds very familiar!

I have a picture that I'm trying to put here, but as usual, computers are kicking my butt.

I'll get it eventually! I'm just "computer challenged"!!!!!

Lynn

_________________________
"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."

– Anne Lamott

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#127291 - 06/07/04 11:14 AM Re: D-Day
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
I don't think the world knew how much they suffered. It seems to me that trauma studies are relatively new. When the Viet Nam vets began speaking up for what they needed, maybe the mass media was finally advanced enough to put their plight in the public eye. I have a feeling that many vets of previous wars suffered terribly in silence. I have always imagined that they felt so very alone in combat, and some could not shed that feeling later.

I have an uncle who was in WWII, and his two oldest sons were both in Viet Nam. They don't tell a lot of stories about war, although I have heard that my uncle did try to help his sons deal with their experiences. I was young enough not to have to go through that. Thank God.

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#127292 - 06/07/04 11:35 AM Re: D-Day
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
True - some of the D-Day vets who were interviewed by Bill Moyers did admit that they "suffered in silence" a good part of the rest of their lives.

But I also had the impression that they had a core of inner strength about them - not that I am making a value judgment here - but they didn't seem to descend into the "netherworld" of Symptoms - they were just very very sad & humbled. Maybe it was just a certain code of behavior that was prevalent in those times?

Would love to know how all of "y'all's" family members are doing....

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#127293 - 06/07/04 11:43 AM Re: D-Day
MikeNY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 927
Loc: NY
Yes, they suffered. Kolisha, we are drawn toward things like this because it gives us a reason to dissociate some from our own experiences. It helps to make them seem insignificant in comparison under the grand scheme of things. They are not. Please be carefull. The effects of being drawn toward things like the suffering which others have survived from war and other major catastrophies gives us false feelings about ourselves.

_________________________
"Every child asks the questions which hold the answers to the secrets of the universe, WHAT?, and WHY?". --Me

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#127294 - 06/07/04 11:48 AM Re: D-Day
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Kolisha,

I believe that they do have a core of inner strength. They had to in order to survive.

One thing that I read, and maybe someone who knows what they're talking about (Ken, you listening? Anyone who is a combat vet?) can jump in here, is that having a chance to process the experience in a supportive environment as soon as possible after the trauma may significantly reduce the severity of symptoms for some trauma survivors. I can't really say anything about that from experience except that I believe the long term silence helped me cement some bad ideas and worse habits. But maybe the time at sea travelling home did help. That might indicate that the European vets who did not travel so long with comrades to get home might have been more likely to have had harder times than did the North American fighters who were able to "debrief" on the ride home.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#127295 - 06/07/04 12:46 PM Re: D-Day
Archnut Offline
Member

Registered: 10/26/02
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
It makes my PTSD seem a bit of a fraud.

"History is the mother of all the arts subjects"

Archnut
"And all that was left was hope"


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#127296 - 06/07/04 01:08 PM Re: D-Day
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/29/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Flint, Michigan
PTSD is not a new disorder. There are written accounts of similar symptoms that go back to ancient times, and there is clear documentation in the historical medical literature starting with the Civil War, when a PTSD-like disorder was known as "Da Costa's Syndrome." There are particularly good de>
_________________________
Pain is Temporary; Quitting lasts Forever. - Lance Armstrong

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#127297 - 06/07/04 01:12 PM Re: D-Day
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Wow! This is fascinating - and - we seem to have 2 kinds of reactions to it: (1) some of us feel humbled & minimize our own "stuff," (2) some of us feel "comforted" to know that we are in "good company." For me, I think it's a little of both. Where can we find out about all of this historical information?

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#127298 - 06/10/04 08:12 PM Re: D-Day
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
A lot of brave soldiers who suffered from we call PTSD were court martialled and shot as cowards. Some, the luckier ones who were badly affected to the point of incapacity, were shut away in asylums.
It's small wonder that so many people who were affected didn't say a thing, they suffered in silence.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#127299 - 06/11/04 04:09 AM Re: D-Day
Ivo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 267
Loc: Germany
Hello friends, I just want to say few words here because unfortunately I have war experience and can say to you something about it. When you are in war environment you feel like you are in worst nightmare and there are no strong words for describing that kind of stress and mental pressure that is lasting for months and years with the same intensity. Maybe Gertrude Stein described this on best and shortest way when she said that it was "totally unreal". Main difference in comparison to SA is that this stress is spread through huge number of people, actually over all population that is somehow involved in it, and that is main reason that it is very easy to spike about it with other people with the same kind of experience.

I am great full to god that I don't have posttraumatic war syndrome but there are huge number of people especially former soldiers that can not cope with normal everyday tasks because of it. They somehow are not able to adapt to normal environment and seems that many of them are still living in their minds in war times. (Is this sounds familiar to you?)

If you like to investigate and you like movies I would recommend you: Thin red line; it is a realistic war film without "Hollywood blockbuster action" and huge bunch of great actors are in it.


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#127300 - 06/17/04 01:02 AM Re: D-Day
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1117
kolisha,
part of the reason for the difference in response to the trauma of the two different wars is partly because of the state of affairs back then relative to the mental health field and to the overall culture of the war effort. the symptoms were there for many of the veterans of the d-day, and other wwII battles, but many things contributed to the difference. part of it was the "debriefing" time. part of it was the culture of the time. by that i mean that the 40's were a totally different time and place. there was the "old school" mentality that still worked on victorian values, there was the infant state of the mental health profession, broadly speaking that is, and there was a heroic element that was in wwII that was lacking in the popular mind of the vietnam era. we as a nation just came out of the great depression because of the war, victorian ideals were in the "john wayne" kind of mold...men were men and did not balk at duty, so to speak. the vietnam war introduced wholesale slaughter of combatants and innocents. the most disturbing sign for me from that time period was the reaction of the parents to the kent state massacre. there was published studies about the violence and its aftermath from kent state. the majority of the parents interviewed for the series of studies said they wished their own children had been there and had been shot. i kid you not, this was a research study published in a professional journal.

the wwII vets did suffer ptsd, as did the vietnam vets, but it was a different time and a different place for both. take care.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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