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Vietnam vet’s new book aims to shed light on PTSD experiences

PTSD (US Army/Released)

Larry DeLong strongly supports recognition for veterans of the U.S. military, including those who received the Purple Heart after being wounded or killed in the line of duty.

The former Niagara Falls businessman is hoping his new book will draw attention to another classification of American soldier — the ones, like him, who suffer from the mental health condition known as post traumatic stress disorder.

“There should be some recognition for soldiers that have had or suffered from PTSD, whether it’s a medal or a citation or something,” DeLong said. “It’s like an inner wound that you can’t see, but it’s there.”

DeLong, a Vietnam War veteran, knows a lot of about the disorder. He suffered silently with the condition that wasn’t formally diagnosed until 2012. He has maintained regular contact with a psychiatrist and has remained in therapy in the years since.

He knows many of his fellow veterans are not as fortunate and often thinks about the soldiers from older conflicts, dating back to World War I and World War II, who probably suffered from PTSD but never knew and were provided with no effective treatments for it.

DeLong, who grew up in the Falls, was drafted into the Vietnam War three days before Thanksgiving in 1964. He was just 21 years old and thought it was important for him to fulfill his patriotic duty and fight in defense of his country. He spent his first six months in Vietnam in combat and the remainder of his tour of duty in various hospitals battling stomach and flesh-eating parasites. In 1966, he finally overcame his health issues and returned to the United States.

His new book — “No Purple Heart for PTSD — Vietnam War Experiences” — offers a vision of the war “from a foxhole and a hospital bed view.”

DeLong described the process of writing the book in one word: “Painful.”

“It brought back a lot of memories,” he said. “It took awhile.”

DeLong’s new book is the second one he has published. He previously released “It’s Not Easy Being Me: Bar Hopping Through Life,” which chronicles his early days hanging around in bars and nightclubs in the Falls and later owning the Portage House, a bar and adult entertainment nightclub where he and his friends and patrons had a lot of colorful adventures.

Now retired and living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, DeLong is back in the Falls this week, visiting with friends and family. He will be signing copies of his books from 2 to 4 p.m. today and Sunday at Casale’s Tavern & Motel, 6908 Buffalo Ave. Both books are available for purchase on Amazon.


(c) 2023 the Niagara Gazette

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