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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Daughter of World War II veterans

I'm the daughter of two World War II veterans - one (my dad) a "hero" who was portrayed in the movie and The Longest Day and written about in quite a few military history books. My other dad (my stepdad) is one of the nameless millions who did their service and came home and lived the Greatest Generation mythical life.

Just guess which one had the alcoholism, 2 children dying premature deaths and 3 marriages?

That's right - my hero dad. All the attention he got in his later years for his war exploits never talked about the legacy of war and the trauma visited upon our family.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you're onto something- my Dad glorified his WWII service as all making whiskey, drinking whiskey, gambling, stealing jeeps from the other services, and general "fun times". Then we got older and some of the truth came out- not much-
After he died we found letters to my Mother, about his waking from nightmares after returning from the Pacific. He was a lawyer with an undergrad. in psychology, but he drank himself to an early death.
there has got to be a better way; our returning vets and their families deserve more.
WWII had a defined enemy, Iraq especially is an insurgency- vague enemy, many many more innocents die and fatal mistakes made, more ambiguity,...................
Unfortunately the scum inhabiting the Executive Branch don't give a rats' ass about the returning veterans. It just doesn't fit in with their corporate allies' agenda.

carolsv said...

Thanks for your comment. Alcohol was used so much by WWII veterans for self medication. My dad struggled with it, but luckily was a recovering alcoholic who ended up directing programs which helped those who were in the same situation with addictive behavior.

Anonymous said...

My Dad was on the Bataan Death march, a POW for 3 1/2 years.
In his 60's the VA finally set up a POW support group which Dad joined. He had been against those who opposed the VietNam war until joining the group.
Through the group he discovered how the war had been run and why it was wrong.
He also became a different person after getting help for his PTSD, which he didn't know he had.
He went from being a "cold" strict disciplinarian to a warm, caring involved Father who could tell us he Loved US to our faces.
He wrote about his experiences and learned to face his feelings.
The is a website for POW's by a son of a Bataan Death March and POW surviver, who set up the site after his Father died without talking about or getting help.
The son reached out and it was a BIG Help for Dad, as it is for a lot of us Children of WWII Vets.
Although it is set-up toward The Bataan Death March and POW's, the children of all WWII Vets, all children of WWII Vets have been effected in simular ways from their Father's experiences.
http://home.pacbell.net/fbaldie/Outline.html

carolsv said...

I looked at the Bataan death march site and was appalled at the conditions the POWs endured and even more appalled that the myth created around WWII ignores most of these horrors experienced by our dads.

VetHelp said...

I am also the daughter of a WWII veteran whose death lead me to discover a hidden VA Pension Benefit known as Improved Pension, which is a 3-tier Pension that includes, Basic, Housebound and Aid and Attendance.

This is a Pension and not disability compensation. It can represent up to $23,000 annually to help pay for care. I filed on behalf of my mom as his widow, and got the Pension awarded to her.

Four years ago at my mother's passing, I launched www.veteranaid.org dedicated to my parents and my journey as their daughter.

My hope is make a difference for someone else who now walks in my shoes as they face being the caregiver of older parents and in need of financial assistance to pay for that care.

Anonymous said...

I'm a daugther of a WWII Vet and also a neice of several WWII Vets. I grew up listening to my dad and uncles' war stories never realizing the silent demon that drove my dad's chaotic behavior and made my life and my mother and two brother's lives a living hell. We found out a few years ago that dad (still living)was diagnosised and suffers from PTSD. In my journey to heal from my turbulent childhood, I found out that family members of Vets with PTSD, can develop whats called "Secondary Traumatic Stress" and I meet just about all the criteria. It blows my mind that I wasn't even born when my dad was fighting on the front lines in the Philipines, and now in my 40's, the effects of WWII is still living on in me.

Anonymous said...

I really need to add to this, something I have never done. My Dad, a POW in WWII, who had to hide being Jewish, came home crazy. He was given some type of therapy in which he was to write of all his experiences.He never recovered even though the military psych said he was OK. My childhood was completely dysfunctional and our entire family has been damaged. Dad is 85 and dying. My life has been a continuation of all the terror he carried. I now suffer with depression and anxiety,all from the insecurity of being raised in a house where all hell could break loose at any moment.I fear for all of the rest of the damaged children that will arise from the mess in the Middle East. When will humans wake up to see that war is not a board game?

carolsv said...

You are illustrating what many of us have realized - how our father's war took a toll on us and our family life. And the shame is that there never was sufficient help for the veteran and no concern at all about what the vet's children were experiencing

Dennis said...

We have consulted with thousands of Veterans and their surviving spouses on how to qualify for the Aid and Attendance pension. The pension has been in existence since 1952. Most do not know about it. Aid and Attendance is for those 65 and older in need of care either living in their home, assisted living or nursing home care. This tax free pension is worth from $1,056-$1,949 a month and directly deposited into your bank account. http://www.seniorcareassociates.com