As Time Pains By

Silhouette of a soldier against the sun.

Making Strength, 40 Years & Counting

There had been much in the media recently about recent work that demonstrated clearly what we’ve long known: combat trauma does not necessarily have an expiration date,  From U.S. News & World Report, for example, see “Vietnam Veterans Still Have PTSD 40 Years After War.”

I cannot deny that I can often find myself peeved, shall we say, that we still find newsworthy the truth that combat trauma stands the test of time, primarily because policy decisions about what is worth the expenditure of our tax dollars are far-too-often based on studies that assume that data generated at any one particular cross-section of time actually provide information that is not only accurate, but useful for making decisions as to who gets those dollars this year and who does not.

That was my polite self. It tends toward long, complicated sentences.

My less polite self would have said,”Oh, good Lord, people, come on: as if we hadn’t known all along that combat veterans not only lie to us about their problems, but lie to themselves as well. We don’t have a clue as to how bad it really is out there.”

That’s why I say, “Thank God for people like Diane Carlson Evans,” the Vietnam era nurse in the article who took action that led to the foundation of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, an organization that was crucial to the erection of the Memorial that stands on the Mall in Washington DC and, even more, that is crucial to keeping all of us remembering that War takes it toll over time–and that it’s a toll that each of us in society must continue to pay so that our combat veterans don’t get stuck with the bill, both literally and figuratively, one lonely life at a time.

Another complicated sentence just to say, “Thanks, Diane, for reminding me and everyone else that we’re still all in this together. I admire that you had back then what it takes to get done what needed to be done. And I admire that you still have it.”

And also: “Thank you that you continue to inspire your fellow veterans to remember that they too still have what it takes, no matter how many years it has been.”

For they do. May they—and the rest of us—never forget that.

Until tomorrow, be well,


To learn more about the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation

One response

  1. How easily people forget. It angers me so much. You only have to think of the WWI survivors who suffered ‘shell shock’ for the rest of their lives. What is it with people. Thank you for highlighting what shouldn’t need highlighting!

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