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Monday, August 24, 2009

Warrior to Spiritual Warrior - Jess E. Weiss

I just completed the above titled book by Jess E. Weiss, a 91 year old veteran of World War II. He was in the second wave of the Omaha beach landing on D-Day. I strongly recommend this book (available on Amazon) A few excerpts:

The beach was congested with the dead and wounded. . . . There wasn't a pebble to hide behind. I crawled under the bodies I'd piled . . . . I waited frozen and afraid, thoughts racing, Am I dreaming? Am I dead? What does being dead feel like?

On PTSD:

It's the residual effect of being afraid all the time and pretending you're not.It's the killing, the death, and the dying around you. Your mind turns into a camera taking pictures and storing negatives in your brain stem, but you don't develop them. . . . the real you down in the base of your brain is dormant, waiting for the right sound or sign to trigger something berserk. You clamp down on that guy. . . . And that just makes the berserker more berserk when he does break out. And he will. He will. You're a real fun guy to grow up with.

1 comment:

Leila Levinson said...

I don't think it a coincidence that Carol, Jan Elvin, myself are all writing about our fathers' PTSD from WWII and how it shaped our lives. We all struggled for years within confusion and mystery to figure out what lay behind our fathers' distance and melancholy and silence. Ironicially, perhaps the Iraq War, bringing a whole new wave of people suffering from PTSD, helped us connect the dots. And understand what the real force was causing deep sorrow within our families.

Now I see many children (particularly daughters) of Vietnam vets understanding much earlier in their lives the forces that have worked on their families and what they need to do to heal. I am glad they are learning at an earlier age.

But what we all must now do is put into action our lessons- to prevent a whole other generation of children from growing up within the dark cave of PTSD. We must all get involved in creating space for our veterans' truths, their real stories. We must make their healing all of our work, not just the VA's.