What’s the Public’s Image of PTSD?

Are we all crazy?  Does PTSD ever go away? I’m sure that most members of the US military have a much better understanding of PTSD than the general public.

There are currently about 1.4 million active troops serving in the U.S. military and 21.5 million military veterans. But the U.S. population has more than 317 million people. That means 0.44% are serving in the active military and 6.7% are veterans leaving 93.15% of the population mostly clueless.

So, where does the general population acquire its perception of PTSD?

To answer that, we must ask how many Hollywood movies have painted a positive picture of combat veterans compared to movies that show veterans as angry, violent, dangerous drug users and/or alcoholics (mostly brought on by PTSD).

Three Vietnam Veterans have run for President of the United States—all three lost. One was a Republican and two were Democrats.

Al Gore served in Vietnam as a reporter/journalist for five months. He was stationed with the 20th Engineer Brigade in Bien Hoa and was a journalist with The Castle Courier. He received an honorable discharge from the Army in May 1971.

Gore said, “I don’t pretend that my own military experience matches in any way what others here have been through … I didn’t do the most, or run the gravest danger. But I was proud to wear my country’s uniform. And my own experiences gave me strong beliefs about America’s obligation to keep our national defenses strong.”

John Kerry reported for duty at Coastal Squadron 1 in Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam on November 17, 1968. In his role as an officer in charge of swift boats, Kerry led five-man crews on a number of patrols into enemy-controlled areas.

John McCain requested a combat assignment, and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal flying A-4 Skyhawks. His combat duty began when he was thirty, in mid-1967.

John McCain became a prisoner of war on October 26, 1967. He was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam when his aircraft was shot down by a missile over Hanoi.

What is your opinion about the public image of combat veterans? Do you think these three men lost the White House because of that image?

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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