As many of you may recall, this writer attended a couple of preview showings of the documentary film, “Who Will Stand,” produced by attorney Gerald Gillock, and directed by Phil Valentine and Michael Bedik, who are all residents of Las Vegas.
The award winning film deals with returning “Warriors,” who come home to the United States after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. “Who Will Stand,” depicts what has been a problem with too many of these men and women, after they arrive home, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the hidden wounds of the war.
With permission of Carol and John, I am including a letter written by the couple to Valentine. I have not touched one word, not one comma, nor any part of the letter. Here is that letter:
It’ hard to find the worlds to tell you what a difference your documentary, Who Will Stand, has made in our lives. I watched it alone the first time, and then John and I watched it together. I don’t think I told you in our previous emails that he was injured in combat, in fact, he received a Purple Heart. His physical wounds have healed, but the invisible wounds, as you stated in the documentary, run deeper and take a lot longer to heal. Watching the documentary opened up and avenue of discussion we’ve never been able to have before. He said he couldn’t thank me enough just for trying to understand and be there for him. He was also very touched that I took the time to email you for advice. He is now finally opening up and telling me everything that he went through overseas. I am ashamed to say I too, like so many people, dismissed the severity of the emotional aspects of war and the camaraderie that he feels with those who served side by side with him. He has been trying to reconnect with the men in his unit during that time and has only found one so far, but we will keep searching.
Also thank you for Dr. Broder’s phone number. We are going to call her this week. Her interview in your documentary was so very inspirational. Like I said, we both have a renewed sense of home and a sense of peace just knowing there are people who genuinely care about what happens to solders like him.
John went and visited his family in Wisconsin this past weekend. He wanted to talk to them about the PTSD and how it has effected his relationship with them. When he first came home from Iraq he was so full of anger and rage that his family didn’t want anything to do with him. In fact, they didn’t speak to each other for a few years. He has been trying to rebuild his relationship with them, but it has been very difficult. He is very frustrated because he says they seem to think he’s using the PTSD as an excuse, and you and I both know that is not the case. I am going to buy another copy of your documentary and send it to his family so maybe they will start to understand what he’s going through. If you know of any others that might help, I am open to suggestions. I want John and his family to have a good relationship. I know it is important to him and his recovery.
Phil – to say thank you seems so inadequate for everything you’ve done for us and for countless other solders and their families. I will keep you updated and say hello from time to time. You do the same. And if there is ever anything, anything at all, we can do for you and your film crew, do not hesitate to let us know.
Prayers and love,
For this writer, it sorta hit home, having served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Not that I saw live action, but I often saw the aftermath of a skirmish. It was not pretty, folks. I was one of the lucky ones who came home with no problems—except perhaps a wee bit of a chip on my shoulder, which quickly went away. At least we were greeted warmly by America. But, who can forget the returning veterans from the Viet Nam War, and how they were greeted by their own country.
If you would like to purchase a copy of “Who Will Stand,” go to