Robert F. Dorr [“Honoring those who never return,” Free for All, June 1] wrote that Memorial Day is not the correct occasion to honor those who succumb to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after completing their military service. I respectfully disagree.
We recently lost our son, Capt. Neil C. Landsberg, a highly decorated U.S. Air Force Special Operations combat controller who led small teams behind enemy lines on multiple deployments. Upon his return to the United States, he continued to serve by volunteering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to help badly injured teammates and with Team Rubicon, a humanitarian aid organization, in civilian disaster recovery efforts. By all accounts, he was a warrior’s warrior.
Neil was wounded on the battlefield, but it took five years for him to succumb to his injuries. Hidden brain injury and trauma are only beginning to be understood and can strike any of us, like cancer or a heart attack. PTSD should be reclassified as an injury, not a “disorder.”
The nature of war has changed dramatically since Dorr and I served. Narrow and outdated notions of what “qualifies” for honor, recognition or treatment serve only to divide us. The nation, our injured warriors and their families deserve better.
Bruce Landsberg, Frederick
Although I respect Robert F. Dorr’s point of view on a semantic level, I do not agree with him on the level of sacrifice, honor and respect. Those who have served our nation in combat and come home alive bear wounds, whether physical, psychological or both. They have sacrificed all that seemed normal to them prior to their deployment, and they will carry the weight of any wounds for the remainder of their lives. Often, they carry that weight in silence.
Case in point: my stepfather, Harry Lee Undy Sr., who fought in the Korean War and earned three Purple Hearts. Dad lived with shrapnel in his body. He rarely discussed his time in Korea and very rarely complained of the pain he had, day in and day out. He was a Marine, and Marines are tough.
He died Oct. 4 of a massive coronary. He was 79. Korea happened years before, but he silently relived those memories for more than 60 years. We honored him on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery because he was a soldier who fought hard for his country, suffered a lifetime as a result of those battlefield wounds and believed “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
Dad and countless other survivors who carryobvious and hidden battlefield scars that plague them throughout their lives deserve to be recognized on Memorial Day.
Peg Flowe, Potomac
Eight of my uncles provided service to protect our country during the Vietnam War. None of their names is engraved on that black granite wall, for which I am grateful.
One of those uncles has a son who died in Afghanistan in 2009. Army Sgt. Titus R. Reynolds died when his armored Stryker vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He was 23.
His passing leaves a hole in our family. His father rides in Rolling Thunder to remember those missing and to recognize all who serve. When he rides into town from Ohio, we gather for a family reunion with barbecues, swimming, boating, tennis and rope swings.
Recognizing living service members is a good way to honor the dead on Memorial Day. Choice is a good freedom to have.
Cathy Trybul Sontheimer, Vienna
As patriotic as it may seem to a lot of people, I found The Post’s choice of picture for the front page of its May 28 edition to be quite the opposite [“A day of remembrance”]. Displaying that tattered rag on that woman’s back in that manner, on Memorial Day of all days, disgraced what that image and those colors represent: the blood and sacrifice of those who served.
I am certain The Post could have found a better image to represent the weekend.
Michael Neary, Odenton
I strongly object to anybody ever using our national flag as clothing, even an out-of-date flag, but it is even worse to see a shirt in such seemingly dreadful condition. It would be bad enough to publish such a photo anywhere in the paper, but to put it on the front page showed extremely poor taste. Surely I was not the only subscriber who was deeply offended.
Jane Peak, McLean