Cacti War Stories


Edited by Wiley "Tiny" Dodd
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A Difference my Son Made

by John Morgan
1967-68

A Difference my Son Made


As most of us remember we arrived home from Nam with anger, and no understanding of how to adjust back to a society that had no appreciation for what we had done. A lot of us took our awards and disposed of them in the trash. I was one of those and my Mom asked me what I was doing and I told her I had no need for these because nobody cared about what we did any way. After I went out of the house to go drink, the easy way to forget, my Mother would go to the trash and retrieve my awards and keep them in hiding till her passing some thirty seven years later.

Some of us tried marriage, myself included, and had children but that was not always the way to turn our life around. My first marriage failed after we had our daughter, who I saw for the last time at six months, and would not see again till she was twenty -five. A few years later I was married again and we had two children together a daughter and son, plus her son from a prior relationship that I adopted. We were together for thirteen years and she put with the nightmares, the rages of anger, and many of the other issues we had that we never under stood. We divorced after thirteen years but we wanted to make sure our children knew who there parents were. In the eyes of my children I am sure that they thought there Dad was a time bomb who could go off at any time.

A few years later I would marry again and this would be the wife I had wished I had found first. She was strong willed, understanding, and a stabilizing factor for both her two children and my children. She tried to understand why I was always so angry, and why I would get upset over the smallest things our kids did, and how I was always very volatile. By this time I think our children had finally tuned me out and were starting to grow away from me.

Stephanie worked hard at trying to have our children see the good in me although I figured they were just glad to get out of the house.

In the early 2000 I finally started treatment programs for PTSD and was put on medication to help control the anger outbursts. I was still untrustworthy of the VA, but I was realized if I wanted continued connection with my children I would have to try something. At this point I still had no pride in admitting that I had served in Viet Nam.

In 2007 my Mother passed away and at the Memorial service my sister asked me if I wanted my medals that Mom had kept and of course I said no, and she said that Steve and his wife Amberly had them and if I ever changed my mind I could get them from them.

In the summer of '07 the kids had one of there pool, bbq, get together, and when I walked in there house I looked over the fireplace where I saw that they had framed my Awards and Picture. Now in my mind this had been done by Amberly because I knew there was no way Steve would do something like that, because of the trials and tribulations he had gone through growing up with me. "Man was I ever wrong"
After a couple hours of partying Amberly asked me if I had noticed the Picture over the fireplace and of course I said yes and this is where I was wrong. I told Am that she had done a great job on the framing and she informed that it wasn't her but that it was Steve who done the work. I hard a very hard believing that my son who at times made his life a living HELL would take the time to do something like that. Am explained that he wanted to know what each award meant as he was placing them and if it wasn't to his satisfaction he would redo the whole thing. She also said that he was very proud of what I had done and had a better understanding of why I had such serious issues.

Steve made me realize that if he could take the time to understand what we went through in Nam and be proud of his Dad, that it was now time for me to step up and take pride in being a Veteran. I now take pride in knowing I served in Viet Nam and I owe it to my SON whom I thought had completely tuned out of his life.
THANK YOU STEVE FOR LETTING YOUR DAD KNOW YOU REALLY DID CARE AND LOVE ME.
DAD (John Morgan)