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Bangor Daily News, Catching Health with Diane Atwood - Theater of War

My family has always been immensely proud of my father’s achievements in the military. In addition to rising up in the ranks of the Army, retiring as a Lt. Colonel, he fought in the Korean War and did two tours of duty in Viet Nam. It was only in the last decade of his life that I understood the tremendous toll those wars had taken on him, physically and psychologically. In the Korean War, he lost some of his hearing and developed blood clots in his legs, both of which plagued him for the rest of his life. In Viet Nam, he was exposed to Agent Orange. At the time of his death, he was considered 100 percent disabled because of the effects of Agent Orange. He had type 2 diabetes and was in constant pain because of neuropathy. He also got lung cancer, which ultimately led to his death. Psychologically, I’m sure he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) until the day he died. Sudden noises always startled him — made him nearly jump out of his skin. He told me they often sounded like gunfire. He was barely 20 during the Korean War. More than 60 years later, just the sound of a spoon dropping on a tile floor could transport him back in an instant.

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