Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story. Click and order paperback or download Kindle version. Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author
The statistics we don’t here about from post Vietnam War veterans… Quote from this website article… Listen to the “Wall Song” before you leave this page…
I’ve recently been re-reading Chuck Dean’s outstanding book Nam Vet. I think some facts are worth sharing:
- Since 1975, nearly three times as many Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in the war.
- Fifty-eight-thousand-plus Americans died in the Vietnam War. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended.
- The suicide rate among veterans who have completed the local VA program is estimated at 2.5 per hundred.
- The national accidental death and suicide rate is fourteen thousand men per year—33 percent above the national average.
- Of those veterans who were married before going to Vietnam, 38 percent were divorced within six months after returning from Southeast Asia.
- The divorce rate amongst Vietnam veterans is above 90 percent.
- Five-hundred thousand Vietnam veterans have been arrested or incarcerated by the law. It is estimated that there are 100,000 Vietnam vets in prison today, and 200,000 on parole.
- Drug-and-alcohol abuse problems range between 50 percent and 75 percent.
- Forty percent of Vietnam veterans are unemployed and 25 percent earn less than seven thousand dollars per year.
Korean War veteran finds “peace” later in life is worth it… Quote from this website article written BY CHRIS COBB, OTTAWA CITIZEN MARCH 29, 2014… Click to see video clip interview!
“Casey didn’t live to grow old.
In the muddy, rat-infested trenches of the Korean hills, they had a bunker to sleep in and, like many 18-year-old boys, Casey loved to sleep.
The Chinese shell scored a direct hit on the bunker while he was napping.
“He got his head blown off,” says Purcell. “Casey come out there like a chicken with its head cut off, except it wasn’t quite off. He come to the door of the bunker and just dropped. That stayed with me for years. I’d wake up screaming, ‘Get out of the bunker, Casey. Get out of the bunker.’”
Just like my father, Vernon’s, story of watching his best friend, Ken Powers, get his head blown off while the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Jim Purcell watched his buddy get his head blown off in the trenches of Korea in 1951. While listening to this video clip interview, it was like listening to my Dad talk about a horrific traumatic experience that never leaves your head.
Like my Dad, Jim waited until later in life to seek treatment for the symptoms of PTSD. And in my own case as a PTSD survivor, I waited until age 64 to start my journey of healing. Too many warriors wait and sometimes it can be too late, especially when we look at the almost unbelievable statistics from Vietnam veterans listed above… “Fifty-eight-thousand-plus Americans died in the Vietnam War. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended.”
The stories of emotional pain and tragedy in life after war are too many to fathom. I watched for many years while my father struggled with severe PTSD symptoms each and every day of his life until he was in his 60’s. Dad finally received treatment through a balance of prescribed medications and counseling. He started to calm down in his mid to late 60’s and lived a relatively peaceful life until 1998 when he passed away at 79. I like to remember my Dad as a happy man even if it was just over 10 years of his life as a senior citizen. His treatment was a work in progress but he was into the regimen because it made him feel so much better. He and my mother spent quality time together traveling and enjoying life during those years. Dad especially loved the ocean and beaches where they frequently spent time in Ocean Shores, Washington or walking in the parks overlooking Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.
Although the emotional pain and suffering lasted for over 40 years following WWII and Korean War, a few years of the gift of peace of mind was well worth it for my Dad and is true for many warriors who often wait until it is almost too late. Dad’s awareness of PTSD, treatment, and path of healing was also a gift to my mother and other family members who felt more comfortable being around him in his later years. Veterans should not only consider themselves in the process of healing, but remember how much loved ones benefit from seeing a happy camper. Family members will all say that not having to walk on eggs shells at home was a real gift to them as well.
Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…click on my author page to order…
Listen to the “Wall Song” before you leave this page…