“It is okay to die.” Pearl Harbor survivor Bud Cloud returns to San Diego to visit the USS Dewey (DD-349)…

by | Nov 13, 2013

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After signing my Pop, EM2 Bud Cloud (circa Pearl Harbor) up for hospice care, the consolation prize I’d given him (for agreeing it was OK to die) was a trip to “visit the Navy in San Diego.”

“A Sailors Dying Wish…”  Quote from this most moving article…a must read…click…

“They piped him ashore. CMDCM Grgetich leaned in and quietly told me how significant that honor was and who it’s usually reserved for as we headed towards the gangplank. Hearing “Electrician’s Mate Second Class William Bud Cloud, Pearl Harbor Survivor, departing” announced over the 1MC was surreal.”

Jennie Haskamp is a Marine Corps veteran who was fortunate to be adopted by a Pearl Harbor survivor after her first tour in the Corps. She’s an accidental tourist of sorts, keeping her friends entertained with anecdotes and photos, while she continues college and decides what she wants to be when she grows up.

When my Dad, Vernon, returned to Pearl Harbor for the 50th Anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US Naval Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941, he achieved some peace of mind for the very first time.  This is when Dad started getting treatment for his post WWII PTSD and seemed to calm down more than any other time in his life since he retired from the US Navy in 1958…  So the story of Bud Cloud returning to the USS Dewey (DDG 105) as his dying wish moved me profoundly.

Preparing to die gracefully and proudly is a matter of peace of mind and feeling spiritually whole.  I know there are and have been thousands of veterans of past wars who have not passed away peacefully because of the haunting memories of losing battle buddies, killing, and carnage connected with the horrors of war.  The brave warriors suffered with guilt for most of their lives.  The symptoms of PTSD often created a toxic family life causing additional emotional damage and guilt, including how the PTSD symptomatic behaviors affected family members and loved ones for another generation.

Since learning so much more about the subject of life after war the past few years, the aging veteran gets my attention along with the children of parents who suffer from PTSD and moral injury.  They both go together.  If we could muster a miracle to heal the veterans of all wars when they return home, future generations of children and families would escape suffering from their own secondary and complex PTSD symptoms.  The real solution to attacking the tragedy of inter-generational PTSD is to ensure that our children are protected and our warriors receive immediate and ongoing care and embark on a journey of healing for their remaining life.  This magical moment, if ever conceivable, could break the pattern of pain that affects so many millions of people who suffer from severe traumatic life events, including the loved ones who are the caregivers.  I may not see this outcome in my lifetime, but believe strongly in the mission of PTSD awareness as the ultimate solution for future generations.  If we stick to it and do not go back to the “suck it up” and “go home and forget about it” denial mindset, we have a good chance to change the world we know today.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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