veterans parade

veterans parade

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The scene in the photo is from Veterans Day 2009 at a Veterans Day Parade in Seattle Washington.

I have never met any of the people in the photo-veterans…veterans who also suffer the memories of MST through PTSD. I have written to and spoken to one of the banner carriers-the woman on the right. She started a non-profit to help others who are MST survivors,her life dedicated to the needs of survivors.

There is a man in this group-he carries a small sign-my name is on that sign. I have never met him-but he marched in dedication to me. On his head is a cap that identifies him as a Viet Nam veteran. I am proud of him and his service…I wish I could feel the honor of being a combat veteran instead of the dishonor of being a sexually traumatized veteran.

The truth is-I don’t feel like a veteran at all. I feel guilty in a strange way that a man who carried an M-16 in combat carries my name on a placard.

My entire service time was short of seven months. Two of those months I spent in barracks D where only hours into being there I was raped. Barracks D was a detention barracks-I was given a welcome when I got there that said “welcome to barracks D…drugs,drunks,and degenerates”! The man who said that was an older balding female acting person-my first time I had ever seen a man act that way.

I was trying to pee. After being socked on the side of the head I pissed myself-I had needed to pee all the day before,and it was nearly two hours into the next.  My clothes were still wet from my going as my pants were  forced from my legs. I had to wear the damp items while interviewed about why I was there.

I felt there might be an offer of help but the officer that saw me bloody and piss wet only chuckled and shook his head in disbelief-he told me to get used to it. Getting used to it meant  my life from December 31 1969 to February 22 1970 . I did not even know that what had happened to me had a name-rape! I walked back to barracks D knowing it was going to happen more. Nearly two months-almost everyday day.

To this day I cannot escape the specific horrors of barracks D.

These are brave people-those who are marching in this parade. The number of them makes such a small group,but they carry a huge message. They are at the tail end of the parade but in front with the message of many.

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2 Responses to “veterans parade”

  1. Kira Says:

    I love you, Jay! I haven’t visited here in a while but an aquaintance of mine came across your blog this weekend and sent me a very moving email about how much it affected her. You’re being heard — quietly and slowly we are all being heard.

    With respect and affection,


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