A Place Beyond the Tears

I'm a former Navy Corpsman that served as a field medic in 1970. I am also a video camerman and have been working loosely on a documentary about veterans with PTSD. I have interviewed a number of vets at the V.A. Brentwood in Los Angeles, CA.

I do believe that there are many veterans who are not aware of the current programs established by the V.A. to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which is just another name for shell shock, combat fatigue or whatever war you happen to be a part of. It's also believed by many I've talked with ( and unknown to the general public ) that over 70,000 Viet vets have taken their own lives since the end of the war. I don't know how this number can be corroborated or whether it is in fact wholly true.

What is true is that there is no public knowledge among veterans of the myriad of programs that are established for alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, and whatever else that hell we experienced contributed to. Many just won't or can't ask for help literally sleeping in the freeway offramp bushes outside the hospital without walking those last final steps for aid.

At the risk of becoming long-winded, I wanted to write and ask you, at the VVHP, to allow me this forum to speak. I've written to a number of people to finance the post-production on-line editing of this project, which centers around the recovery of a vet whose story of recovery is a remarkable one, and who is the current head groundskeeper at the V.A. Golf course he revitalized from a very neglected situation along with his own rehabilitation.

His name is Terry Gray, and he's a hell of a golfer and nice guy. My last letter was actually to Bill Clinton to inform him of this sad situation with the guys who served over there, and I hope you'll post this letter and the poem I've written.

Walt Cronin


A Place Beyond the Tears

By Walt Cronin Your eyes were filled with innocence, Your hearts would know no fear; You went as proud Americans, To a place beyond the tears. Welcome home, my brothers and sisters, Your time has come to heal; Though just nineteen and crucified, By your government's need to kill. Welcome home, my brothers and sisters, Whose hearts would know no fear; Your country's faith and kindness, Are the words you need to hear. When you came trudging home again, From that place beyond the tears; The place you thought as home again, the place you held so dear, Was divided from their own, my friend, and unable to see clear. So welcome home, my brothers and sisters, From that place beyond the tears; And now that you *are* home again, Please let your hearts be healed.

Copyright © 1996 By Walt Cronin, All Rights Reserved