Here at KX News, we’re proud of our armed forces and the veterans that have served our country.
In tonight’s ‘Veterans’ Voices’, we’re introducing you to two brave women who served during the Vietnam era. But like many who returned home after the Vietnam War, scarred by the impacts of war, they learned the world they lived in before being deployed, wasn’t so welcoming upon their homecoming.
WSYR-TV (SYRACUSE, N.Y.)– Pat Prettyman and Evelyn Disinger are military veterans of the Vietnam-era. Pat was an army medic. Evelyn was with the air force.
Both, during and after the Vietnam War, they faced an all too common reaction from their fellow Americans.
“We were not liked. We could not wear our uniforms anywhere, even in basic. We were not allowed to wear our uniforms downtown, because people did not like us,” shares Prettyman.
Disinger adds, “We didn’t talk about it very much. You know, I can remember coming home, and my mother wanting me to wear my uniform. I didn’t want to do that, so.”
But it wasn’t okay, the way Vietnam vets were treated. Jimi Prettyman had the same experience when he came home, wounded from that war, in April of 1969. That’s when he met Pat.
“For some reason, I knew he was the one, so in September of ’69 we got married and we’ve been together 50 years now, so I guess he was the one,” Prettyman explains.
Yes, the marriage has lasted, but so have the unseen wounds of war. To help heal those wounds, Jimi meets every other week with his PTSD support group at the Syracuse Vet Center.
“He never spoke about Vietnam, never-ever spoke about Vietnam, until he met his group here at the Vet Center and they saved his life. And now he opens up. Even though we were both in Vietnam, he was in combat and I was a Vietnam-era Vet, he never talked to me about it and I never pushed him. Now he does, now that he’s with his group. And we do a lot together…and this is his lifeline now,” Prettyman shares.
Pat now volunteers regularly at the Vet Center, where they warmly welcome men and women who serve in the armed forces: women, who serve, and need their own support systems.
“Just like the men do from being over in a conflict like that and coming back to families and children that they’ve been separated from for 12 to 18 months,” adds Disinger.
“Just to let them know they’re not alone, that we went through the same things that they’re going through, and we’re here to help them acclimate back into civilian life,” Prettyman says.
KX News is featuring local veterans weekdays up through the week of Veteran’s Day. Join us each night at 10 to meet some of North Dakota’s finest men and women.