Memorializing Those Who Served

Actor Graham Greene shares the healing journey of Vietnam veteran Sgt Bill Rider during the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert.

Actor Dennis Franz tells the story of a young Marine who served during the Battle of Khe Sanh during the 2012 National Memorial Day Concert.

I expected PBS to do a great job of honoring the men and women who have served our country. But I didn’t expect PBS to allow such raw and honest stories to be told. Listening to what these veterans were made to give and sacrifice in the service of their country was heartbreaking and, in many ways, paralleled my dad’s own experiences of war. My hat’s off to PBS for giving these veterans a platform where they can be heard in such a dignified manner.

Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 26 at 8/7 Central on PBS. And, you can share your memories of friends or loved ones who served in the Vietnam War on their Wall of Remembrance.

Happy Memorial Day.

If I Do Die, I Die as a Soldier

Arlington Cemetery 1984

            Arlington National Cemetery 1984

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well I just got back from R&R and I am now in An Khe so I thought that I [would] drop a few lines.

I sure enjoyed hearing your voices it helps a lot. It gives a person a little more hope and things seem a little brighter. I am so home sick when I think of hearing your voice, it brings back so many thoughts.

I maybe shouldn’t write this or maybe think it but I want to tell you because I never said it while I was in the States that if something should happen to me while I[‘m] over here I [want] you to know that you are the best parents in the world. You have shown so much love and have done so much for me. I deeply love you for it.

Mom you showed it the most out in the open and Dad you were to[o] quiet to show you once told me that you maybe didn’t show it but I know you loved us all. You can’t count the times that I’ve tried to picture you in my mind you sitting in the big chair upstairs looking out the window so quiet and Mom trying to catch up on the work she had to do. O[h] how I would love to see it once again it means so very much to me.

I could always count on you for help even over 10,000 miles away. But I am proud to be an Infantry man and if I do die I die as a Soldier fighting for what I think is right.

 

Letter home dated: November 9, 1967

The Plight of the Vietnam Veteran

This letter to the editor, written in 1986 by my dad’s friend and fellow Bravo Company “Sky Trooper,” sadly still resonates today. Below are excerpts of that letter.

“Vietnam veterans and nation still recovering”

Last week this letter came to me in the mail. And, though it was addressed to me, clearly it was written to you, too – to all of us. So I wanted you to see it:

            “I have been following [this] column on the situation of the Vietnam veteran. It is encouraging to know that there are a few who still consider his plight. Continue reading

PTSD and genetics

Yalies find genetic link to PTSD

Excerpts:

Yale researchers have discovered a strong link between genes and the likelihood that someone will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Pingxing Xie GRD ’13 and Yale School of Medicine professor Joel Gelernter ’79 found that a particular form of a gene found on chromosome 17 made some people more likely to develop PTSD. They published their results in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

“I’m interested in working out what the important genetic effects are for PTSD,” Gelernter said. “Our goal is to figure out what makes some people more vulnerable to PTSD than other people.”

Eight percent of Americans have been diagnosed with PTSD, while 40 to 70 percent of Americans have experienced a traumatic event. Gelernter and Xie found that Continue reading