Combat posttraumatic stress injury and military issues

What to do with memory: thoughts for our veterans on Memorial Day

Roger Brooke, Ph.D., ABPP

Most veterans don’t know what to do with memory. Some hope to forget, but also cannot bear to be forgotten. Some hope to forget by hurling themselves back into civilian life, often drunkenly, but going down that path is not going to end well. Almost all combat veterans whom I know try to protect those they love from the memories that crowd in on them, especially at night. Down range they have often remembered with longing the atmosphere of a loving home and the ordinary pleasures of running water, toilets, and a clean bed. It has kept them going. The last thing they want to do when they get home is to spoil this with memories of war.