The thoughts never go away – A Vietnam Vet


Yes, even the men who have braved the jungles of Vietnam and Wars in the Pacific, Europe and Korea accept willingly a stuffed animal or lap blanket. It is a simple way to say “Somebody cares about you. Somebody appreciates your sacrifice. We are grateful for your service for the USA and mankind.


He looked like he had it all together. A man about my age. He was a Vietnam Vet. But I guess you can’t judge somebody on the outside about what they are feeling like on the inside. The twists and turns of being exposed to a war zone, at age 18, had deposited emotional shrapnell, still felt 41 years later. How sad.

“I am here at the VA hospital for counseling. I was in Vietnam for 13 months in 1969. The memories never leave you. The memories get stuck in your head. Whenever I hear the “oldies”, I am right back there in a village in Vietnam. I gave up the alcohol about 10 years ago.That’s why I need the VA.”

How quickly we forget what the Vets have not forgotten.

About Patricia Gallagher:


3 thoughts on “The thoughts never go away – A Vietnam Vet

  1. Trish,

    I’ve seen first- hand the love you bring to all of these unloved residents who have lost so much. Lost their spouses, their homes, their independence, their children and now, their memories.

    I have seen you cradle a soft tan puppy into the closed arms of a 89 year old woman lying on a stretcher enroute to the hospital, or maybe just the starkness of her room.

    I have seen you fill you own arms with teddy bears of all colors and sizes, funny yellow ducklings, happy green frogs, white bunnies with pink ears…and go trotting in and out of the darkened residents rooms (although it’s still afternoon, some curtains are still closed) and place a pretty stuffed animals onto their bureaus, onto their beds, into their hearts. I have also witnessed the change in them long after you quietly slipped away. They come to their doorways holding their animal like a baby…their baby…they become a Mommy again.

    They hold it to their chest, their hands gently stroking it…a sense of pride now…look at me, I have someone who needs me now…

    Many, many times I have watched you bring smiles to the lonely, laughs to the sad , hope for the hopeless. You ask for no recognition, no payment, no glory as you drive for miles with furry animals
    packed in the trunk of your van, always hoping to find just one more elderly woman or man who needs to feel the warmth of love again…even if it’s only a kitten with one lopsided ear.

    Thank you for your kindness, Trish and for caring so deeply about these Veterans and their wives, the ones paralyzed from strokes and the amputees from diabetes, the scarred and the scared…you have touched them all…

    I will be sure to find Miss Willie tomorrow and make her birthday as special as you have made the night before for her, when you gave her the two teddy bears.

    Jan Mohan
    Young at Heart Entertainment
    Box 196
    Montgomeryville, PA 18936

  2. Patricia,

    I’m forwarding your e-mail to my daughter’s troop leader. It sounds like a great service opportunity for them.

    This week is really crazy for me, so I’ll give you a call on your cell over the weekend.

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