Immediately following the war, along with veterans who suffered from PTSD in general, there was an overall lack of empathy toward those who suffered serious physical impairments. Because nobody really understood what they went through or how it effected them, veterans would often develop a sense of rejection from society. Additionally, those who were unfortunate to receive amputations of one or more limbs or became paraplegic now also became dependent upon others for daily life. Likewise, those who the burden of having to care for these injured veterans were their families. As described in the song “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”, you can see how this might have caused wives to lose interest in their husbands, and more so how this this impacts these amputees and paraplegics who are mistreated and misunderstood by society.
In one of my sources that I found particularly interesting from New Jersey Times, there is an existing program dedicated towards amputee war veterans. The Annual Next Step Golf Clinic gives these veterans an opportunity to place side by side with professional golfers as a method of physical and psychological therapy. This program also provides a very good environment for these veterans as they’re surrounded with those who experiences very similar tragedies in their life. One of the veterans from Marlton, Walt Martinez states, “I try to soak up everything the pros point out, and being out here with the veterans, I don’t need to explain anything to them because they understand me.”
These people are hugely impacted by these programs to help them cope with their physical and psychological injuries. That is why this article influenced me to take a route in my paper to try to actually understand the struggles endured by Vietnam War amputees who were neglected by society after returning home from the war. Additionally, I am going to further research the types of programs that might have existed or lacked during this period of time to help rehabilitate returning veterans in the 1960s.