The Combat Veteran & PTSD

11 comments

The Combat Veteran & PTSD was written by my friend Francis Resta. He was a WWII combat veteran — was in Europe and Japan. The book is easy to read– conversational. It felt like I was having a solid chat with my friend– it is comforting to know that I have some of Francis’s language here to sit quietly with whenever I might want to listen to him.

Much of the book reiterated our conversations on the radio as well as off the air. Francis was an anti-war, anti-gun, anti-military veteran who was one of the few people I’ve known who can say with experience that war is never worth the cost. Francis reaffirmed my perspectives on many things — especially the importance and value of children.

In the book, Francis breaks down different aspects of how the combat veteran develops an angry personality that may not have always been there, and how the military reinforces anger and violence in soldiers such that they are forever changed. When they return to society, they feel left out and isolated– like they are from another dimension, because they are. Francis describes living as two people at the same time– the one in civilian society, and the one at war. We learn in detail how soldiers were left on their own to make decisions within their smaller groups, which contributed to their violence, rape and pillage of Europe over WWII as well as the kind of destruction that continues to take place in wars throughout the world today. Coming back to ‘civil society’ combat veterans can no longer take what they want, sleep wherever and whenever they are tired, and should engage in proper hygiene.

Francis explains how PTSD manifests in the veteran and what the symptoms are. I think many of us are familiar with the general idea, so I will not go into detail here. Francis talked about his PTSD openly and the book encourages all of us to accept and invite veterans into our lives despite their condition. He reminds us that our own tax dollars pay for the production of such traumatized individuals.

Francis mentions homeless and starving children in the book, as well as the impacts of PTSD in the combat veteran on children and the family. While it took him a long time to find the words and admit his faults in his own personal life, I think this book represents not only a great exhibition into the mind of a combat veteran but also the battle cry for how our own trauma, sadness and loss impacts the people around us. Combat veterans reverberate trauma and carry stories of horror we will never know, hopefully.

The book is a bit dated, but we also are informed about lots of resources available to the veteran for help with PTSD among other things.

This short book is worth reading if you’d like to learn about the mind of a combat veteran from the perspective of one who was on the front lines of the Battle on the Rhine.

11 comments on “The Combat Veteran & PTSD”

  1. borkali, I am glad that you can continue your conversation with your friend, Francis, someone you are surely lucky to have known. To hear, to read this story from the inside would be enlightening. Many of us cannot truly know the depth at which war changes a person, how it alters one’s perception of what is real, what is valuable, what is worth fighting for. And how it alters one’s nervous system and sensitivities, emotional vulnerabilities. We are fortunate in this, yes, but what a gift to offer a glimpse of what is a very real landscape for many. Thank you for this review. It has given me pause, made me take some time to ponder this very real issue.

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  2. Borkali, I’m sorry that Francis (and every other war veteran) experienced what we call war. (Such a small word.) But I’m glad you have him on the page. I’m thinking you also have recordings of your conversations on your radio show, too.

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  3. I am so glad you shared Francis Resta with us. WWII was so popular. Francis had great courage to speak out boldly against that popular war–against all war; he knew war is wrong, and he believed war is never worth the cost in human lives both military and civilian. His raw experience in battle gave him authority to speak. He knew the destructive power of any war goes on for generations. When will we all learn how to stop the Hitler’s of the world before they are entrenched and before they use their power to commit atrocities? How do I learn how to protect myself from being coopted and used to support the status quo when it works enough for me to look the other way. Francis prompts me to continue to delve into very serious self-reflection around war. You were so lucky to call him your friend.

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  4. I admit I haven’t been able to open this book since Carol gave it to me, It is sitting in my glass curio cabinet along side my own diaries and my other treasures but it still pains me to see it and remember we lost Francis. I know I will be able to read it one day, and it will be the right time. But for now it will remain where it can be seen regularly until the sharp prickle of that loss isn’t so raw.

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  5. Solantratrainingasoul, deeply moved by this, by your willingness to move through grief here. Those touchstones can be both brutal and healing, at the same time even. Clearly Francis was a man who touched people deeply.

    Like

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