MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Dozens of Vietnam veterans gathered to celebrate National Vietnam Veterans Day on Friday, but for some vets, the battle didn’t end following the war.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, eight out of every 100 veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD as a result of their experiences overseas.
“I started realizing all these things that happened to me over the years- I don’t like crowds, noises bother me, and it all started coming back,“ George Bontay, who served as a civil engineer in the Vietnam War said.
Some experience the symptoms of PTSD immediately, but many vets say they didn’t realize they had it until later on.
“When I retired in 2012 from the federal government, every day all of a sudden Vietnam came to my mind, and there wasn’t a day that I didn’t think about Vietnam,“ Air Force veteran, Jaime Lleras said.
Symptoms of PTSD vary, but veterans say after the war they had trouble sleeping, constantly felt on edge and avoided talking about their experiences altogether.
While there is no cure for PTSD, some Vietnam veterans have found a sense of relief with help from the Myrtle Beach Vet Center.
“The vet center is like my second home, and everybody working here is like family,“ Bontay said.
There, they have met other veterans fighting similar battles, and they’ve learned tools to cope with the symptoms of their PTSD through regular therapy sessions.
“It’s a good feeling that the people that you’re with are in the same situation, and we still have our flashbacks but that’s the reality now. I have no complaints,“ Carl White who served as a member of the military police in Vietnam said.
To learn about the services offered at the Myrtle Beach Vet Center, its location and operating hours, click here.