You’ve probably heard a lot about post-traumatic stress disorder in Vietnam veterans, and now in troops returning from Iraq, but you may not realize the condition also plagues World War II veterans. Six decades after storming the beaches of Normandy, some of these men – now in their 80s and 90s – still suffer from nightmares, panic attacks, flashbacks, etc., on top of their age-related health problems.
Jack Vier, the Rye veteran sharing his memories with Rye High School students this week, has PTSD. So does Dominic Esposito, a Mohegan Lake veteran I recently interviewed for our first weekly At Ease! podcast, who also proudly serves as president of the local Combat Infantrymen’s Association. (Click on the picture to view a larger image. I’m told the podcast will be available for free download in iTunes sometime next week, but you can listen to it now at the end of this post.) Both get treated at VA clinics, but there’s really no cure.
Dr. Ronald Hanover of Briarcliff Manor, who runs a PTSD clinic at the VA Hospital in Manhattan, believes the condition is common in all combat veterans.
WWII vets did not speak of these things – they were of a generation that shut up, came home went to work and raised families … PTSD rarely if ever goes away. Therapy tries to help people with PTSD (and PTSD is certainly well known in civilian lives as well rape, motor accidents, natural disasters, robberies etc.) cope better with anxiety, rage, depression and isolation.
Click the audio link below to hear Dominic Esposito’s story.