He did not put his name on the article, preferring to remain anonymous, but he should feel proud, because it became immediately obvious that his article touched on something important which was universal among all Vietnam Veterans: Yes, they do still think about Vietnam.
I'm only sorry I can't thank the veteran for his article. The feelings and memories it evoked have been overwhelming, not only for those in every group where it was posted on Facebook and LinkedIn, but for me, as well.
To All My Veteran Friends:
Every time I read something one of you shared, without your knowing it, you helped me face many things I have also buried since 1969.
Through reading about your experiences and your loss, I have felt your anguish, because it also touched those things that I had buried and brought them to the surface. Often, it was sudden, like a body slam and it was frightening. Other times, it was a gentle pull, like a whisper and I cried.
But I'm learning. I know that to heal, that's exactly what I need to do more of.
Pain is pain. It doesn't matter who owns it, or from which direction it comes, or how it got there. Pain is pain, it hurts like bloody hell, and we want to avoid it, because we're afrait it will consume us. But stuffing it brings even worse pain, the kind that can haunt forever, through nightmares or flashbacks.
You have helped me see that we are not our fear, nor are we the pain. They do not own us. And, we are not separate. We are whole, we are good, and above all else ... we are human.
I've found that healing begins with the realization that the horror, loss, or even the guilt of still being alive -- are all significant and defining moments in our lives. They couldn't help but change us. We are who we are because of those defining moments and that can bring acceptance.
Every time one of us shares something, we are all facing it together -- and we are honoring the men, like my husband, and the women on The Wall, the fallen heroes who can never share their stories. Through sharing, we give them a voice ...
I just needed you to know how very much you have helped me. So, once again, I thank you. My only hope is that I have in some way also helped you.