Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A grateful presentation

From a Private Ceremony (see blog May 10) to May 12.  Permission received
from Mike to share his presentation with everyone!  (He just didn't want to
be on TV!)

Chapter 2
Mike, Jim and Joe.  Three men very dear to my heart.  Mike, Vietnam Veteran
who finally decided to accept a QOV.  Jim, the Dr. that Mike credits for
saving many lives during the Vietnam War.  Joe a dental surgeon and Korean
War Veteran and one of Mikes best friends.

When I got to the house, Mike informed everyone he had been on the verge of
throwing up all day in anticipation of his QOV.  I mentioned I thought he
had been on the verge for the past 3 months.  There were times I thought
perhaps it had been a bad idea to encourage Mike to accept his QOV.  He DID
a lot of suffering and soul searching before he finally gained his
"personal freedom".

The presentations to Jim and Joe were tough, but I held it together and did
a pretty good job.  When it came to Mike all bets were off.  All I could do
was to hug him and cry.  It meant so much to him and he struggled for so
long to reconcile a lot of events during Vietnam.  He said, "I want you to
know this quilt has been life changing for me".    It has been life
changing for me too.

It would be enough to say all are happy - but, Mike has requested a QOV for
a close friend of his that is still struggling with the effects of
Vietnam.  Susan Gordon, GA Regional Coordinator will be sharing the rest of
Mikes story - for the request is now in her hands.  I look forward to the
next chapter in this wonderful story of healing and inner peace.

Submitted by Sharon L

1 comment:

  1. An open (and different) letter to QOV:

    For many persons serving in our military, and for whatever reason(s), once away from military service one just looks, feels and reacts differently than do persons that were never in the military. In some cases, this leads to a ruined or a wasted life. In other cases, this may lead to compulsion and a never-ending drive to "prove" something. Of course, this all depends on what one did while in the military....and most veterans do not want to (or will ever) discuss their military experiences. That is to say--older veterans do not. Younger ones are "still with the moment," and may discuss some (but not all) events.

    For me, as an older veteran of Vietnam, I was one of the lucky ones. At least I thought I was. Once done with my military service, and after losing my second wife to divorce, I found a good counselor and personally paid for sessions (too many to count) in order to feel like I was OK. I found out that I was not over Vietnam in any way-shape-or-form. Healing was not easy, and took time.

    Interestingly, I have thought recently that I was "over" everything, was beginning to forget faces, names and events........then, along came a person that asked me if I would accept a Quilt of Valor. Immediately, all of the visions, night sweats and flashbacks returned. It was like nothing ever happened--and I was back, way back in time. I could not deal with it. So, I rejected even the thought of the QOV. I subsequently rejected it on numerous (other) occasions. Why, I was asked???

    Ever have a migraine that would not go away? Ever feel as though you were just NOT good enough? Ever wonder "what might have been--if....?" Ever think that while gone oversees--the civilized world had gone crazy? Ever experience someone (like a civilian) chastising you for (just) doing your job (when in the military)? Ever been called a "baby killer?" Ever been wounded physically, or mentally? After serving your country--do you remember when our President allowed all draft dodgers to re-enter the USA like nothing ever happened [I threw away all of my military medals, old uniforms and records, as this made my time in Vietnam worthless.]? These are examples of challenges that our Vietnam veterans (including myself) needed to resolve. Some did, others did not. Let's face it--no one does.......I found that out when asked to receive a QOV.

    So......I discussed things at length with other veterans, I thought about everything long and hard [even to the point of smelling the odors, feeling the humidity and feeling dirty like I was in Vietnam] , I talked to my wife about what it might represent to my kids and (finally) I thought about what it might do for me. I accepted one. Nothing has been the same. For some reason, I feel less like a "stepped-on" person, who needed to justify his very existence....and more like ME [just ME].

    Thank you for the QOV. I have an idea that it will become more important to me as time passes.....