A group of men find profound healing by writing about their trauma after years of suffering.
After decades of struggling with the burdens of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a group of veterans begin to heal their invisible wounds. By putting their experiences into words, they start to TakeCare of themselves and one another.
In a collection of videos by the Asheville Citizen Times, members of the Brothers Like These writing group share their journey and their powerful writing.
Ed Norris served in the United States Marine Corps from 1965-1968. He was sent home from the Vietnam War with shrapnel wounds to his legs, arms and head. Norris says he wasn't the same person after Vietnam. "Some of the things I feel would probably scare the ordinary civilian," said Norris, "you tend to keep those things inside of you."
Described as shy, David Robinson would ask his teacher to give him a "zero" rather than read in front of the class. After high school, he was drafted into the Vietnam War and served in the United States Army Americal Division, from 1970-1971. His piece, "Across the Sea" inspired the title of the Brothers Like These writing group.
Once he put pen to paper, Stephen Henderson, a graduate of Erwin High School, vividly remembered the hours leading up to his departure for the Vietnam War. Eating breakfast with his parents and pregnant wife the morning before he left, Henderson was reminded of the Last Supper.
Robert West, a veteran of the Vietnam War, served in the United States Army, in the 25th Infantry Division from 1968-1969. West spent 19 months in Vietnam. “People ask you what it was like,” said West, “unless you were there, there’s no comparison.”
Michael Ireland was born into a military family in Hobbs, New Mexico. Thirty-three years after serving in Vietnam, he was diagnosed with PTSD. In the Brothers Like These Writing group, Ireland wrote a letter to the first of his 12 grandchildren.
Cane Creek Middle Schoolers share how they were inspired as Fairview Elementary students by the story of Stephen Henderson, a Vietnam War veteran and president of the North Carolina Veterans Writing Alliance. As a member of the "Brothers Like These" writing program, Henderson has found healing through sharing his story.
Your generous donation supports the North Carolina Veterans Writing Alliance Foundation and Brothers and Sisters Like These, which help veterans heal through the arts and creative writing.