The myth of World War I I has not just been adopted by aging vets but even their fractured families. For us it was not the Greatest War but the war that destroyed our ticket to the post war American dream and turned it into our Poe nightmare.
Here how I am authority .My Dad came home from the war with severe undiagnosed PTSD. I was born while he was in a prison camp. The dénouement is our family collapsed under the weight of 25 year of misery. My brother died of alcoholism, my mother of lung cancer from 3 packs of Raleighs a day to calm herself. My brother set the house on fire – all related to the stress of growing up with PTSD laced family dysfunctions.
We grew up not knowing what made my Dad a loner, a functioning alcoholic, who drank like Don Draper on Mad Men, bottling up his secret panic attacks, nightmares and paranoia . His double meanwhile was being Peggy-in Mad Men – a talented and prolific copywriter in the Advertising Agency World of the 50’s 60’s. . My Dad went untreated for 50 years with severe PTSD until he found my brother dead and I was able to get him to the VA.
As a daughter with the skills of a GCM, I then spent 20 years working with the VA–through it’s good and very bad bureaucratic warrens -like Dickens Circumlocution Office- until it became our savior.