A war hero returns home, 40 years later
By John Blake, CNN
updated 12:38 AM EDT, Sun March 25, 2012
“-- Karl Marlantes stared at the young man through the sights of an M-16 rifle and slid his muddy finger over the curve of the trigger.
I haven’t read either of his books. I may eventually find them and read them. However, I don’t need to read them to know what he has written in order to know its merits and its predictions.
The author is of my generation, as am I, a member of “the club.” We’ve suppressed the memories and flashbacks that go along with membership’s other dues. We’ve made every attempt at living the life we believed we could live. We’ve lived through a bad marriage and a divorce. We’ve suffered the long-term effects of adrenaline addiction that is born in battle.
Like the author, I know the surprise of eject yet another small piece of shrapnel when we thought there was none left to extrude. And like the author, I’ve found help for PTSD. I understand it will be with me always. So will it be with everyone who is afflicted with it. It will shape who we are, who our offspring are, and who we want to be.
What this book offers is not only some of the same tales other veterans have already told, or that I’ve related, but also a new perspective that may help another veteran learn to deal with it. Each of us has our own set of experiences, our own war. Collectively we define PTSD but we deal with it and treat it separately.
So if you know a veteran of any war who may be trying to defeat his or her particular box of demons, point him to the book. Watch out, if you do. These books can trigger a lot of repressed and suppressed memory. It may be a rough ride over the reefs of ugly memories before they can find a safe anchorage and a place to peel off the armor they still wear.