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Walt's Daughter

Importance of Giving Veterans a Voice

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Great article by Leila Levinson

 

Author, 'Gated Grief: The Daughter of a G.I. Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma'

Posted: January 27, 2011 08:20 AM

 

 

Here's an excerpt. Click on the link below to read the entire in its entirety.

 

Back in November the "Modern Love" column of The New York Times ran a piece by the wife of an OIF veteran in which she says that the "real depth of devotion is proved not by the secrets we're told but by the decision to shield us from the ones we need not hear. Love articulated by a lexicon of silence. Letting him keep the hurt locker closed."

 

As the daughter of a World War II veteran who tried to shield me with silence, I disagree. Over my father's lifetime, his silence hardened within him, turning into a fortress from which he could not break free. The walls left me outside, dependent upon my imagination to fill in the blanks. A child's imagination is often cruel, creating explanations that blame the child for the pain, the melancholy, the palpable aftermath of war. My father's silence exiled me from comfort and affection, and it also obscured his perceptions, so he could not recognize my depression and our estrangement, even when friends tried to coax him into getting me help. "She's fine," he responded. His silence left no other option.

 

 

The Importance of Giving Veterans a Voice

 

 

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One of the most often repeated phrases on WWII websites is "my dad would never talk about it". A sad fact but surely in many cases understandable?

 

Colin.

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That's for sure. I can't tell you how many letters I have in my possession, which contain that phrase...

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