Veterans Struggle Adjusting to Life After War

By: Mark Lindner
By: Mark Lindner

"Its great, especially to take a shower with no one else in the bathroom with you, that's great, the privacy is great," says U.S. Army Maj. Dawn Hayman.

For Hayman and others serving in the military, adjusting to life after war is no simple task.

"I just remember it was very hard to get involved with crowds, noises and things, just a lot of paranoia," says Vietnam veteran Nick Parnello.

"We worked 12-16 hours a day, so coming back it was a real slow down getting back into track with civilian things," says Cpl. John Gessner of the U.S. Army Reserves.

However, all agree that readjusting to civilian life now is a lot easier than it was back then.

"They learn from the losses that we had in Vietnam from everything, whether its the deaths or the country not welcoming us back," Parnello says.

"We went through a complete week of reintegration training on how to deal with tantrums that kids may have at home, dealing with your spouse, dealing with civilians that don't know how you've been gone a whole year," adds Hayman.

And while getting back to civilian life does get easier, coping with the horrors of war does not.

"I don't think there's a veteran that I've talked to that gets past it. you just deal with it," Parnello says.

Parnello and other veterans from past wars are reaching out to soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. They say that regardless of where or when you served, everyone who has served in the military shares a common bond.

If you want to find out how you can support our troops, you are encouraged to contact your local American Legion or visit one of these websites.

http://www.geocities.com/copedusa/
http://www.americasupportsyou.mil
http://www.asoldierswishlist.org/


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