A great honor

I was honored a couple weekends ago I was one of 50 World War II and Korean War veterans who were flown to Washington, D.C. as part of Honor Flight Maine. As part of that, we were taken to all the various war memorials. The visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was especially moving, as I was asked along with a female Korean veteran to present a Maine wreath at the tomb.

Only high officials and special individuals and heads of state are chosen for this honor. I am in the dark as to why I was chosen. But it was an emotional moment and a great honor.

G. Paul Dumont
Capt., USAF, retired

Childhood trauma

An OpEd in the BDN’s Nov. 4 edition by Christina Pacione-Zayas emphasized the terrible effects of childhood trauma on later life, and the issue cannot be more important to life development. It deserves special attention by all parents, and even more by professionals who care for kids.

The biological impact of trauma is sure to impact the structure of the brain. As a survivor of traumatic brain injury in childhood, I know very well how my neurological, reaction, behavioral, perhaps even cognitive pathways have been shaped by my early experiences so many years ago. When I add into the equation the PTSD I endured from peer pressure, because kids cannot as a rule understand the effects, it is a wonder that I survived. While I am aware that all my defects are not attributable to one instance, I cannot help but wonder how different my life might have been if only…

Kids will be kids, and accidents happen. We cannot dictate just how a child should develop, yet as Pacione-Zayas stresses, “biological memories are formed” in the brain from trauma, and without proper support and encouragement from adults, a youngster is likely to be maladjusted. Mothers and fathers may not recognize it, may deny it, but teachers and doctors should certainly learn to see where trauma is having a deleterious impact on a child.

Steve Colhoun

The 1950s I remember

The author of a recent OpEd in the BDN, “The l950’s are greatly overrated,” overlooked many of the blessings in that era that I remember.

Most children grew up in two-parent homes. Most women were homemakers, an unaffordable luxury today — bringing stability, structure and serenity to our home life and our communities.

Think of the bean supper ladies. Home-cooked, sit-down meals with the family, conversation with the children, washing dishes together and playing games in the evening. We didn’t worry about our children watching pornography, playing too many video games or having no friends. Children didn’t need behavior control meds to get through their school day; they played outdoors with lots of other kids, and we didn’t incessantly worry about their safety.

Autism, ADHD, obesity, school shootings, opiate addictions, child suicide, drive-by shootings, gang violence: unheard of. What about women? Pay and job security were a real problem for some. But, many women worked for the people they loved. Today, many women punch clocks, and work for strangers to pay the bills. It takes two incomes; the cost of housing has skyrocketed, and income disparities are obscene.

But are women happier now with liberation and more opportunities? It’s not apparent in psychotropic drug purchases, incessant dieting, therapy and divorce rates. Let me be clear: I’m not saying I want to go back! No way. But we need to tell the whole truth.

Modern life has given us wonderful new gadgets, bigger houses, great restaurants, more exciting options and much better medical and dental care. I’m grateful. But let’s not be smug and forget what we’ve lost.

Jonette Christian