Upon landing in California after serving a year in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division, I immediately threw my military uniform in the trash and put on civilian clothes. I was ashamed of my participation and complicity in what I believed to be a great injustice to the people of Vietnam. Several months later, I was granted an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector.
During my tour I was constantly frightened and always on hyper-alert for threats to my dream of a safe return home to my wife and baby daughter, who was born seven months into my overseas service. After being reunited with my family I soon began to experience troubling behaviors that included combat flashbacks, anxiety/depression and an increased emotional isolation from my family and loved ones. Seldom, if ever, did I talk of my Vietnam experience. One night after pulling my wife out of bed by her feet during a flashback, I ended up spending three months in a PTSD unit at a local VA hospital. Not knowing what was wrong with me and not being able to hold down a job played heavily on my mind and I am extremely grateful to the Veterans Administration for their continued treatment and support over the past 45 years.
In my efforts to understand the impact of going to war on both myself and my family, I am very much appreciative of the writers, director and actors of "Occupied Territories". When I first saw this remarkable play last summer, it provided the opportunity of watching an accurate portrayal of some of what I had experienced as a young soldier in Vietnam. The important and timely message of this play, in my opinion, is that war can extract a tremendous toll and suffering on both combatants and their families and by extension, communities and nations. "Occupied Territories" provides a penetrating look into this little know world as well as a healing imperative for each of us to consider.
– Anonymous, Combat Veteran