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Page 8
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<< 7. GI Rights Organizing9. Medical Discharges for Returning Veterans of OIF and OEF >>

Veteran's Benefit Play

By Steve Crandall

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The California Central Coast Chapter is currently working on a veteran's benefit play. The play is about the good times and the more difficult times of Vietnam veterans as they try to fit back into society. We all brought back memories and feelings that didn't play well with civilian life.

On my very first night home I introduced my parents to a small piece of my life in Vietnam. It started with my mother making my favorite dinner with steak, baked potatoes and green beans. Then I asked her to pass the FUCKING salt. Thank God they were so happy to have me home no one thought about getting a bar of soap. Then only three days later the Sylmar earthquake hit. I rolled out of bed and hugged the floor. My dad couldn't understand why the hell I was on the floor when the first earthquake response we learned as kids was to find a doorway. These responses are small hints of what will play out in a much larger way, depending on our experiences while we were in Vietnam.

The play's message is to raise public awareness to the many psychological and physical wounds suffered by returning war veterans and to understand their challenges as they merge with civilian life. Vietnam veterans know all too well the difficulties they experienced when they returned from the war. Forty plus years after the end of the Vietnam War far too many still wrestle with our demons. The returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will not be exempt from the profound effects of war. We need to educate the public to the profound effects of war so they won't turn their backs on these new veterans. We can do it by sharing how war experiences changed our lives and then draw a correlation to the plight of the new veterans. No matter what war we are talking about the impact on war veterans is the same and that's what this play will present.

If you have a story or experience to tell please let us know. You can contact Steve Crandall via email stevecrandall@verizon.net or the call the Chapter phone at 805-388-1542.

Your stories are very much appreciated.

Steve Crandall is a Vietnam Veteran and the President of the California Central Coast Chapter of VVAW.

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