PTSD- Spirituality & Art

*Video returning soon

-A couple of reflections from two Veterans who represented our Veteran Panel at the 2012 Annual Vietnam War Era Symposium regarding question from audience member.

-Comment from Audience member regarding PTSD and Art

*We do not endorse any one political or spiritual view. We allow our guest presenters to share from their experiences / perspectives, one of many. Take what resonates with you, put aside what does not. We are merely a platform for various views, perspectives, and voices.

Disclaimer: If you are needing more extensive assistance or counseling, there are many available agencies to assist you. No blogs are ever meant to substitute a person seeking help through professional counseling.

War as a Prayer

2012 Vietnam War Symposium- TSIO All Rights Reserved

“War as a prayer” as a way in which I reconciled my own experiences.

Among the things I “lost” in Vietnam were any sense of meaning for the phrases “right” and “wrong” and a sense of “connection” between my community and myself. I gained some knowledge however; I found I could survive in evil circumstances and that I was capable of doing some pretty terrible things. I discovered that I could survive by assuming I was dead anyway, and focusing in the present and the “mission.” I learned a lot about compassion, love, and sacrifice. I came “home” fragmented – incomplete – a part person. Over the years on my own journey towards wholeness I have learned the importance of connection and community. The sense of connection was renewed with the VET Center program and the veterans group of clergy to which I belong (as well as within my own family structure).

Trauma, to be validated, demands community, achieved through sharing stories. Trauma is personal. One of the communities I wanted was God and me; and if we are going to have community we are going to listen to each other’s stories. We are going to have a conversation, a personal connection through sacred conversation, or prayer. What is the personal conversation, the prayer, like – it is Scary, Honest, Intense,and Tough. Instead of the one-way of ACTS it is the journey of SHIT, calling forth the recognition that all shit is not bad, but can be life-giving as well. Thus my statement that my healing has taken place when I began to regard war as a prayer or perhaps a context for prayer.

Alan was in the US Navy from 1969 to 1975, 5 years on active duty – as an enlisted man in the Naval Security group, then as an officer – first as an advisor in VN then as a teacher at the Naval Academy prep School.

Other Posts by Alan Cutter:

The Journey from Hell to Hope

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Spiritual Disorder

Disclaimer: If you are needing more extensive assistance or counseling, there are many available agencies to assist you. No blogs are ever meant to substitute a person seeking help through professional counseling. We are merely a platform for others to share their experiences and opinions.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Spiritual Disorder

From our 2012 Vietnam War Symposium (All Rights Reserved) TSIO

*Video returning soon

Allan received his BA from Syracuse University (1968), Master of Science (Library Science), Simmons College (1970), Master of Divinity, Bangor Theo Seminary (1977, Doctor of Ministry, Pittsburgh Theo Seminary (1996). Held pastorates in Weld, ME, Stamford, NY, New Martinsville, WV, Duluth, MN (16 years), then served as executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of South Louisiana.

Allan was in the US Navy from 1969 to 1975, 5 years on active duty – as an enlisted man in the Naval Security group, then as an officer – first as an advisor in VN then as a teacher at the Naval Academy prep School.

Other Writing from Alan Cutter-

The Journey from Hell to Hope

War as a Prayer

Disclaimer: If you are needing more extensive assistance or counseling, there are many available agencies to assist you. No blogs are ever meant to substitute a person seeking help through professional counseling. We are merely a platform for others to share their experiences and opinions.

Daughter of a Vietnam Veteran writes and reads local proclamation

*Although we proposed and advocated for a bill on the state level that passed in 2009, I felt it was important this year to have a local proclamation to bring it closer to the people in their communities. Two city councils adopted it this year. This clip is my reading of the proclamation at this year’s Vietnam Veteran Day’s Celebration.

I also wanted to make sure my original intent to Include ALL aspects of people connected to the war and the Vietnam ERA in our organization’s mission in  bridging the gap.

See complete follow-up of our event here

Learn more about our organization

2011 Annual Vietnam Veterans day event pictures, etc.

Sponsors & Pictures

  Rolling Thunder WI Chapter 4

Lake Hallie’s Eagle’s Club- http://www.foe.com/SiteDefault.aspx?SiteId=9

Piff’s Catering- http://www.piffscatering.com/

Micon Theater

  

(Pic. 1) Organizer & Major Sponsor banner. Lake Hallie Eagle’s Club & Piff Catering also was a partner. (Pic. 2) Emcee acknowledging my parents.

  

(Pic.1)Head Table- my parents are the two in the middle. (Pic.2) Emcee WEAU 13 News- Anchor (AKA #1 News Anchor) Judy Clark & her husband Tom Benson (also works at WEAU 13 NEWS). The late John Hoffland, former News Director for WEAU, was a Vietnam Era Vet. He was one of the Vets who wrote letters in support for the bill that I brought to the commitee hearing with me. We thank all the Vets who wrote letters as well. John was also instrumental in the VFW Unmet Needs program along with supporting all Veteran efforts including our work. He was only one of two Vets who were honored at the first official celebration in 2010.

Judy did a military branch shout-out, but then we did a shout-out for all the different cities where the men had been stationed in Vietnam. We also called out Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, & then all Era Vets. It was alot of fun including for the Vietnamese community to hear the different Vietnamese cities being called.

 

(Pic.1) Tom Nutting and his fiance performing a song Tom wrote about his brother and friend who had served in Vietnam. Quite an interesting story how we met him. We will share that story on another blog that will also feature his performance by video from this year’s event.(Pic. 2) Lem Genovese is a Vietnam Veteran who was stationed in Vinh Long and was also a medic in Dessert Storm. Here is a link to his website to hear more of his music and read his Bio, etc. –http://yankeemedicrecords.com/home.html

 

(Pic.1) My mother with Phuong & Thanh Thach who were 2010 volunteers of the year. (Pic.2) Vietnamese guests standing up when we did a shout-out for them.

 

UW Stout Veteran’s club volunteered for the second year in a row. It was an honor for all of us to have them be a part of us. They want to come back again next year! Their University Club is made up of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Veterans.

 

This year we wanted to do a special shout-out to all the Medics AKA Bac SIs’. Bac Si means doctor in Vietnamese. On the left we put the service ribbon of Vietnam Veterans and on the right the Medic Symbol. Then we put “To all the Number One G.I.S” (well known term) & then Number One Bac Si G.I.

 

(Pic.1) Larry, AKA #1 Bac Si G.I. & Huey Larry because he was a former medic and Huey because he was the one who brought the Huey to the first official Vietnam Veteran’s Day celebration in WI – 2010. (Pic.2) Another UW Stout Veteran Volunteer holding up one of our t-shirts commemorating last year’s first official celebration for WI.

 

Larry Hoffman, AKA Number One Bac Si G.I. & Buckle Larry. I call Larry buckle Larry because I know too many Vietnam Vets with the name Larry and had to find a way to identify them all. Buckle stands for the buckle I returned for Larry to Vietnam this year that belonged to a former NVA Soldier. He shared a little bit about that at the banquet. You can learn more by going to this link- https://commonbondveteranscircle.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/returning-item-for-former-medic-to-vietnam-his-thoughts-pics-video/

 

(Pic. 1) Emcee and I having a good laugh. (Pic.2) Here I am wearing my boot from my injury in Cambodia this year!

Crowd Pictures

 

 

 

Me with some Vets & other guests

  

(Pic.1) Jerry Bertram and his wife Marlyn have been volunteers with us this year. Jerry speaks alot in the schools and has helped me load one of our 40 foot ocean freight medical containers to Vietnam. He always does a shout-out for his wife. He told a funny story you will see later on video. (Pic.2) Tom is a pretty cool Vet. He has been back to Vietnam and just loves it there, especially the people. He showed me a photo album of his at the banquet.

       

(Pic.1) Ken was stationed in Cantho which is in the Delta area. My father did two extended tours. His first one was in the central highlands and then the second one was in the delta where he met and married my mother, who is sitting behind Ken in blue. I too was born in Vietnam. (Pic.2) This woman is a wife of a Vietnam Veteran and got up to share a little from that perspective. She also is a school teacher and encouraged Vets to come to her class and others to share their experiences.

      

(Pic.1) Ron is so cute! He came up and told a story about how he used to get in trouble for handing out chocolate to the kids in Vietnam. I may post his video up telling that story. (Pic.2) Bethany is someone I just met, but call her my Amerasian sister. She traveled a ways to attend this event with her Vietnam Era Vet father and Iraq Veteran brother. Look forward in getting to know her better!

 

(Pic.1) Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 are some of the coolest, down to earth, and fun people to be around. They have adopted me into their circle and been a sponsor of this event two years in a row and a supporter of me & my organization. They do many great things for their veterans and we love them for it!!! They picked me up by surprise at the end of the night. (Pic.2) Rolling Thunder with our Emcee WEAU NEWS 13 Anchor Judy Clark. Talk about down to earth and alot of fun! Both her and her husband are some of the most sincere people you can meet! Thanks Judy & all of WEAU NEWS for all your support and coverage for our Vietnam Vets!

Please see link below for Video footage of our 2011 event!

https://commonbondveteranscircle.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/2011-wi-vietnam-veterans-day-banquet-4-video-clips/

Other special Thanks:

Steve Smith (My husband), Chuck Gorecki, George Adrian, Jerry & Maralyn Bertram, Greg & Peggy Johnson, & Harold Kronenberg.