Vietnam – PTSD – Lacy J. Dalton

It’s not easy when the demons get loose – the ones you’ve kept locked away in the dark recesses of your mind.  For me it happened big time during the first few hours of Desert Storm.  I didn’t know what was going on – after all, I’d buried Vietnam in my psyche.  I never talked about it.  I didn’t know another Vietnam Vet.  When I heard of one losing it, I told myself it was a cop out.

If Desert Shield hadn’t become Desert Storm, I’d have probably lived the rest of my life with my demons tucked away in the basement.      But it did.

My answer was to organize a group of Vietnam Vets in Fort Payne, Alabama.  We called ourselves Vietnam Veterans Southern Command.  You can read more about the group here.

A few months after Vietnam Veterans Southern Command was born, I was watching Johnny Carson, reading a book, and thinking about an upcoming speaking engagement in California.  None of those things had my full attention until Lacy J. Dalton began singing, Little Boy Blue, a song she wrote for her son.

When I heard the line, “No matter what comes down, I’ll always love you,” I cried – actually, I bawled.

I downloaded a copy of the song and played it for the guys at The Bunker – Vietnam Veterans Southern Command’s meeting place.  They bawled too.  It was sort of funny watching a room full of vets crying, and trying not to look at each other.

When we got it back together a bit, George Jackson, a charter member, said, “You know, that should be our song.”

We all agreed and I sent Lacy J. Dalton a letter.  I told her about us, and how we all cried when we listened to Little Boy Blue.

Three days later, I got a special delivery package from her.  Inside were autographed pictures for each of us and a letter.  In the letter, she said that her son was grown now, and he knew how she felt about him, and she would be real pleased to give us the song if we’d like to make it our song.

Give a listen to Little Boy Blue, and you’ll see why we all cried again when we read the letter.

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9 Responses to Vietnam – PTSD – Lacy J. Dalton

  1. I wrote a paper on Vietnam back in college, in ’93. Instead of hitting the history books I went down to the VFC and talked to a few men, not many were willing to, but I saw their eyes filled with knowledge they never asked for and I remember that every now and then, when certain songs played, some of them reacted strongly. I never donned the uniform, though God knows I would in a heartbeat, but I can’t say enough about the men and women who do, and most especially those of you who gave it all when it mattered most. Every veteran of any war has my respect and admiration, and though I could never relate to your experiences, I’d like for you to know that I am grateful for people like you. The song hit hard. Particularly the lines :
    A hundred thousand miles
    Down some ol’ highway
    I stop just long enough to understand
    While I let all the years go flying by me
    The little boy I loved turned into a man

    A salute, to every vet out there.

    • Bert

      Thanks Javier,
      On behalf of every man and every woman who served in Vietnam I thank you more than you can imagine and I pray that you never know just how much that is.
      Yours to count on,

  2. Caleb Pirtle

    We all have our demons tucked away and buried somewhere, usually deep since we don’t ever plan to go back and dig them up. They can fester. They can eat away at us. They can kill us. I’m glad you were able to set yours free with an idea, a sense of duty, the intelligence to reach out to others who had similar demons, and a song. If “Little Boy Blue” can touch your heart, then it’s already made of stone.

  3. Jack Durish

    It’s sad that America didn’t always love its sons and daughters who they sent to war, “no matter what comes down.” I often wonder how much of the mental illness might have been ameliorated had the vets been treated a little more kindly when they returned. I hope those who tormented them never have to face the damage they did.

  4. kanani fong

    We’re sharing this on WarRetreat FB page and twitter. Thank you.

  5. PTSD treatment for Veterans found ineffective.

    Eli Lilly made $65 billion on the Zyprexa franchise.Lilly was fined $1.4 billion for Zyprexa fraud!
    The atypical antipsychotics (Zyprexa,Risperdal,Seroquel) are like a ‘synthetic’ Thorazine,only they cost ten times more than the old fashioned typical antipsychotics.
    These newer generation drugs still pack their list of side effects like diabetes for the user.All these drugs work as so called ‘major tranquilizers’.This can be a contradiction with PTSD suffers as we are hyper vigilant and feel uncomfortable with a drug that puts you to sleep and makes you sluggish.
    That’s why drugs like Zyprexa don’t work for PTSD survivors like myself.
    -Daniel Haszard FMI

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