I moved around to a different town almost every year growing up. My dad was a minister that had a hard time keeping the congregation happy. I don’t think it was entirely his fault, but I remember my mother yelling at him for not visiting people enough. I know I enjoyed being part of the services in church growing up. It was the only time I remember my father ever speaking to me thoughtfully, other than reading me stories as a child. I have a theory about why he was so distant, and it came about by reading the blogs of other children of war veterans. The torment from post-traumatic stress disorder robs us of part of the lives of the ones we love. They withdraw from the ones that love them because of the mind not being able to deal with the painful thoughts that are hard to break away from.
My father never told me of any war stories, but they gave him two bronze stars for his service and wanted him to go to Officer Candidate School. I think that he must have been brave and he must have seen some horrific things as a medic in the Korean War. The MASH units were only a few miles from the front lines and my father could have seen some action. It isn’t important to me that he was a hero or not, but it is important to me that he never felt heroic, or happy for that matter. I have been to war myself and I know the sacrifice made by the soldiers and their families. The United States is the beacon of liberty for the world and our soldiers have been the liberators for freedom. The costs have been high in terms of lives lost or shattered. Almost everyone knows a Vietnam veteran that has the scars, mental and physical, and the courage it takes to persevere through the pain that was inflicted. Those that came back intact still have a common bond with those that never came back and that part of their lives they will never forget.