National Vietnam War Veterans Day“War is hell.” – General William Tecumseh Sherman If an accomplished general thought that war was hell, it’s bad for everyone. Every year, on March 29th, we celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day to honor veterans of that war. For many veterans, Vietnam was a particularly trying experience. It featured guerrilla fighters, confusion, and combat. Veterans of the war sometimes mention how they were always on edge, never knowing when or where danger would occur. As the war progressed, it became increasingly unpopular. Many Americans who protested the war and the people who fought it. When they returned home from Vietnam, many members of the military were instructed to trade their uniforms for civilian clothes so they wouldn’t face protests. So, Vietnam veterans faced the horrors of war, weren’t acknowledged for their service or were hostilely treated for it, and may have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or physical injuries. It’s probably not surprising, then, that many Vietnam vets are reluctant to talk about their experiences. They may try to cope in other ways, including using alcohol and drugs to soothe their pain. In addition, some people left Vietnam with drug addictions and past drug use could reoccur. Even if people stop using drugs, they face higher odds of abusing drugs and alcohol again in the future compared to people who never misused such substances. Luckily, there are many resources for veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates the National Center for PTSD as well as hospitals and medical facilities all around the United States and throughout the world. Military medical provider TRICARE may pay for many kinds of substance abuse treatments. Many health care professionals and therapists are willing to help clients find ways to pay for such assistance. War is hell, but people don’t have to stay there forever. Sources biography.com – William Tecumseh Sherman pbs.org – Guerrilla Tactics: An Overview medlineplus.gov – Drug Use and Addiction
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