January 25: On our way to San Francisco and Bangkok
At the SEATAC (Seattle/Tacoma) airport, what beautiful and celebratory vibes from all the relatives and friends who came to see us off. Wow, what a contrast from when we each were heading off to a Vietnam that was at war! Of all people, a vet who is a graduate of our PTSD program, whom we had not seen for a year or longer, showed up at the airport to see us off. It was simply amazing; the positive change in him since he left our PTSD program was profound. It appears that our program played a big part in propelling his recovery, and then he took the next steps himself by going up to Okanagan log country. He has been humping logs all day long for several months; this seemed to be a release to get rid of some things he needed to “let go of.” And now he’s working hard (more a white-collar type job), he is not in PTSD after-care, and seems to be in a great space! We must be doing something right in our program, and this vet obviously is doing something right!
A man in a business suit stopped me by the security gate. He had recognized me from a picture in a newspaper. He said that he’d been in MACV (Military Assistance Command-Vietnam), 71-72, and that this Vietnam trip seemed like a great thing. He just wanted to tell me that, and wish us well. Just a 30-second contact: and it was beautiful.
The Vietnamese government lumped our group of veterans together with a tour group sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), from the Dayton, Ohio chapter. None of us knew each other, before, but we traveled together throughout VN in the same bus and stayed at the same hotels. However, we each had our own separate ventures during most of the days. This VVA chapter had taken several groups of veterans and others back to Vietnam. These were vets at large from the community, not necessarily PTSD patients under the VA. Also, they did not receive any mental health support while in VN.