I read an article on how the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) helps veterans deal with their post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the report, it took them two or more visits before they saw improvement. After viewing the wall a few times, they saw marked improvement in their PTSD symptoms compared to veterans who did not view the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The researchers discovered that although the design of the memorial is unique, there is a feeling of tradition and history as you stand before it. Those features were comforting and added to the healing process. The design of the wide open path in front of the wall, nearby benches and the freedom to locate names, remember faces and allow the memories to flow … all led to a sense of release.
Being able to see their reflection in the polished marble brought them face to face with their losses. Reading names of friends and comrades and seeing beyond the engraved names to their own faces was painful and healing.
I wonder if the families of deceased veterans will benefit by going to the memorial a few more times?
For those of us who didn’t get the chance to say “Good-bye” or “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,” …will a handful of visits to the wall help us release our anger and sadness?
Maybe it’s time to plan another visit to the wall and find out?