Veteran's Day Can Be a Reminder of Wars Past for Vets with PTSD - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Veteran's Day Can Be a Reminder of Wars Past for Vets with PTSD

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Yakima, Wash. - Veteran's Day is a time of remembering and thanking the people who protect our freedoms. But those freedoms can come at a price.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, affects 30% of veterans who have fought in a war. Another 20% will come home with symptoms as well. 

Dozens gathered at the Jerry Taylor Veterans Plaza in Sunnyside on Wednesday. Every year, Veteran's Day is a big event for the small town. But for Greg Schlieve of Prosser the memories are somber. 

"In Vietman, we did not fight the enemy until we could see the whites in their eyes," said Schlieve. 

Greg holds onto some painful memories from overseas. 

"I was in a battle July 4th of 1969 that lasted five days and I would say for 20 years, I spent July 4th in the woods, away from people," said Schlieve. 

Many veterans suffer from PTSD. Returning home after war, they have a hard time connecting with others who haven't experienced battle. 

"So what's something that we can be aware of when it comes to coming into contact with a veteran who has PTSD? Veterans tend to avoid situations of conflict. I think that most times when we find that there are some physical effects is when they're in situations when they're being shaken awake," said Dr. Jeffrey Dulin with the Walla Walla VA. 

While Veteran's Day serves to give thanks, it may also be a tough reminder of memories that our heroes won't soon forget.

"Sometimes, it's the anniversary dates that haunt you more than veterans day or memorial day, but, right after those anniversaries would be those veteran's holidays," said Schlieve. 

For many veterans, crowded areas can be scary and they're often sensitive to loud noises or bright lights.