“You asked me why I couldn’t sleep. It’s the damn nightmares! Haven’t had them in years. Tonight your dad and I start talking about the glory days, and Bam! Nightmares came back! Last time I had them was when Jonny was in Vietnam. Before that, it was for three years after I was back from Japan. I don’t mean occasionally, either. Every single night, the same nightmares just kept repeating.”
Ray put his beer down and then put his head in his hands, rubbing his eyes. Becky put her hand on the old man’s shoulder and stroked his back.
“Uncle Ray, this sounds similar to what some Vietnam vets go through wh…”
“You’re damn right it is!” Ray snapped. “This isn’t something just the Vietnam vets have. Anyone who’s been in war goes through this again and again. Jonny had them too, after he got back both times.”
“Both times?” asked Becky innocently. “I didn’t think he saw any combat in the Gulf War?”
Ray ignored the question and continued. “Let me tell you what I dream about when I go through this garbage. I remember starting with a platoon of over fifty men and pulling back at the end of the campaign with only eighteen guys. I saw men shot, knifed, blown up and die of disease. I watched a six-foot two baseball hero shoot himself in the foot, so he didn’t have to go into combat with the rest of us because he was scared. I watched the rest of my platoon go into combat just as scared and not question why I was sending them there.
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