my dad's life was forever changed when he went to vietnam. he left when he was 18 years old. he fought with the 25th infantry division in cu chi, saigon, dau tien.. often in hand-to-hand combat. he was one of the many soldiers who became desensitized to killing and torture. he came back to his family with his life... but that life was nothing like the one he might've had if he'd never fought in that war.

he came home, married my mom, had two little girls, and became a pastor. he taught other people forgiveness, tolerance, and love while he waged a war in his mind every single day.

since returning from vietnam 40 years ago, my dad has suffered from a myriad of health problems.. manic depression, PTSD, polymyalgia rheumatica, and severe anxiety are among them. he became reclusive and paranoid and had to retire from the ministry. he now lives with my step-mom, an angel god sent to love and care for a man who isn't the easiest to love, in a stress-free environment with a predictable routine. anything else would overwhelm him.

that's just the short version of my dad's story. there's so much more to him, so much more i could share about his experiences but those are his stories to tell. i'm proud of him. i'm proud of him for being so brave and doing what he thought was the right thing. i'm proud of him for coming home and trying to live a normal life when he had seen and done things no one should have had to. i'm sad that he gave more than he had to give.. and that the people who loved him missed out on what the war took from him. i would have liked to have had my dad back.

all of him.

thank you to herbert thomas hatcher and every other man and woman who has served and is serving this country and risking their lives for something they believe in.

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