I grew up in a home torn apart by PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). My father served in the army during VietNam. Only recently have I been able to attempt to comprehend the horror that he saw there.
I'd love to say that he was my hero growing up, but we didn't have a relationship. We lived in the same house, had the same family members, but that's about it. Hanging with other VietNam vets was a big part of our lives, but I still didn't understand. I wasn't proud of him. Actually, I didn't think much about him.
Here I am, 30 years later loving my father more & more each day. Because of circumstances in my early 20's, we were forced to establish a relationship. I was resistant at first, but now I cannot imagine my life without him.
On his last trip to Georgia, Dad gave me a book written by his Lieutenant. From chapter 14 on, I was able to read about the experiences (the watered down versions) that my father had in VietNam. It gave me a greater understanding of him.
Today my father called me to tell me that he & his unit will be awarded with the Valorous Unit Award - the second highest unit decoration which may be bestowed upon a U.S. Army unit. This award is equivalent to the Silver Star. I am SO proud of my father & his Army unit. Amazing that after 35+ years, they are being recognized for their heroism.
My father & I still have a LONG road ahead of us, but our relationship is one that I never imagined was possible. Of course, with God all things are possible. I can only credit God for opening up our hearts so that we can have the relationship that I always wanted as a kid.
Thank a vet today... I know I will!