"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Casualty of War

U.S.S. Yorktown
Patriot's Point

          Last Sunday I attended the funeral of a fallen hero, a casualty of the Vietnam War. Although he wasn’t physically killed in battle, his spirit was wounded to the point he took his own life. Suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression since his return from war, he succumbed to the stresses of what he had seen and done in Vietnam.

I was on my way to the July 4th celebration at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant, SC, with my family when I received the news of his death. There, with all the monuments to South Carolina’s fallen heroes, I was reminded of the cost of our freedom - a cost that doesn’t end when the war ends. 

Morgan and Matthew at the
S.C. Purple Heart Monument
          Studies show that an estimated 5,000 veterans commit suicide each year. According to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, making suicide a significant public health priority. Being in the military doubles your risk of suicide.

          For Vietnam veterans in particular, the PTSD, depression, guilt, and increased suicide levels aren’t the only cost of war they bring home. Vietnam veterans with Agent Orange exposure are like ticking time bombs for major health issues. The health risk of this exposure isn’t just for the veteran, but also creates a risk for their unborn children and even their grandchildren as the various mutations pass through the family bloodline.

          Sometimes we read statistics and absorb them but they don’t become real to us. Let me bring the hidden cost of war down to a more personal level. In my small family alone:

S/Sgt. William T. John

     My father died in Vietnam in 1970.

       My husband served two tours of duty in Vietnam, contracted malaria which has recurred stateside, was wounded by enemy fire and received a Purple Heart, has PTSD, and was exposed to Agent Orange.

Stacie Anne,
our precious firstborn
          Our daughter, Stacie, was born with a heart defect associated with Agent Orange exposure and subsequently died.


Matthew - 5 months old
        Our grandson was born with a cleft lip, gum and palate and, so far, has had three major and three minor surgeries to correct it. He'll require at least one more surgery. This defect has also been associated with Agent Orange exposure.

        Multiply factors like these by the millions of men and women who go to war to protect the freedoms we enjoy and you get a glimpse of the high price they and their families pay. Sometimes veterans have to pay the hidden costs of war for the rest of their lives.

          Pray for the physical and mental health of our soldiers and veterans and be sure to thank them for their service when you see them. Like Jesus, they were willing to lay down their life for you.

Praying blessings over you today, dear Reader-


PS  My intention with this blog post was not to draw attention to me and my family. God has been so faithful to us throughout our lives. He has blessed us in each situation we've faced by placing the right people in the right places, by orchestrating circumstances in our favor, by undergirding us with a supernatural strength, and in many other ways.

My intention was to pay homage to Randy, a fallen hero and to associate faces with statistics to make the whole concept of the hidden cost of war real to you. If you haven't thought about this sort of thing before, I hope this is eye-opening for you. I hope it makes you appreciate your freedom and the soldiers who fight for it even more than you do now.

Love and blessings to you and yours-


  1. Cathy: This is a subject that is becoming closer to my heart. A friend at church has a grandson who is presently in the Army. He has a diagnosis of PTSD. A childhood friend of my husband served in Vietnam. One of his daughters had an unusual birth defect. Now, the other one has health issues that are strange for her age.

    1. This is a subject that most people don't know about unless they encounter someone who is affected by it like you have. I'll be praying for the three you've mentioned. Thanks for sharing their stories with me.

  2. I really like this story and the way it reminds us that there is a great cost for our freedom. Thanks for pointing that out!

    1. Thanks, Mary Jane! Praying blessings over you.