We recently received a financial donation from the widow of a World War II Army veteran, Elvin Cox. Along with the donation, she included several newspaper clippings that gave us insight into the honorable and remarkable life he lived. Mr. Cox was the recipient of a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, a true American hero who fought valiantly during combat in Italy and went on to give back to his community and country in a variety of ways after he left military service.
One clipping Mrs. Cox submitted stood out in particular. It was an article Mr. Cox (who was serving as the Commander of Chapter #38 Disabled American Veterans at the time) had written in the April 18, 1991 edition of The RAMSEUR Bulletin.
In the article, Mr. Cox stated that he was encouraged with the manner in which our nation was welcoming home the veterans of Desert Storm, noting that was not the case when the Korean and Vietnam war veterans returned home. He continued with another observation – an observation that reflected the hard-earned wisdom obtained during his combat service which ended after he was grievously wounded:
“We did win the war with a minimum of American and Allied casualties. But combat is fear! And stress! And pain! And confusion! It is not likely that all the troops of Desert Storm could return home without any emotional baggage (PTSD) left over from their experiences. In World War I, this emotional baggage was called “shell shock.” In World War II, it was labeled “battle fatigue.” But today, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) victims have difficulty adjusting to everyday life after the extreme stress of combat. It behooves us to watch our returning troops closely and take note of their behavior, their nightmares, substance abuses, even how easily they cry. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be a killer.”
It’s amazing to me that even before the 2008 release of the widely publicized “Invisible Wounds of War” Rand Study that made PTSD a household term – that this World War II veteran was already doing what he could to make sure his sphere of influence knew that PTSD existed, that it was a normal reaction to combat exposure, that its effects are potentially deadly, and that his recently returned “brothers” may need some special care related to PTSD.
We thank Mrs. Cox for the donation she made to the Quality of Life Foundation, Inc in memory of her husband, Elvin Cox and especially for taking the time to share a little bit about what made her husband so special. May we all live our lives in a similar fashion as Elvin Cox.