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Sidney Alvin Lee - U.S. Army Airborne Ranger

Over the next years, I routinely shut down my recruiting office in the early afternoon and hit the bar on post and stayed until it closed for the night.  At her wit’s end, Rose Marie tried to talk to me, tried to get through to me, but I wanted none of it.  To this day, I don’t know how or why she put up with me through thirty years of hell.  My children had grown up, and I barely knew them.  I had been no part of their lives.  I am ashamed to say this, but years later, they told me when I came home from work, they watched to determine my mood, and they checked how I parked the car to see how much I’d drunk that night.  They had learned by the signals I gave whether to try to engage their father in meaningful conversation or steer clear of a drunken, unpredictable hothead.

All through the 1980s, I slept with weapons beside the bed and under my pillow, and nightmares haunted me every night.  Horrific terrors, they were always violent but not always centered in Vietnam.  I rarely saw faces, but I always saw fighting.  Many nights, too petrified to move, I lay still and sneaked my eyes open, afraid whatever was out there would see me move and kill me.  Sometimes, I caught a dream just when it started and forced myself awake.  Then, I got up and walked around the house awhile, but inevitably, when I lay back down, the dream started again, right where it had ended.  It was like being forced to watch a violent, bloody video game with a hateful, malevolent operator at the controls.

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder had reduced Sidney Lee, airborne ranger and veteran of two bloody combat tours, to a man too afraid to open his eyes in the safety of his own bed. 


1. Racism in the Military
2. Tossed into a River
3. Dad's Death
4. MLK
5. Jump school
6. Rosie Marie
7. A lot of action
8. The world turned to shit
9. Attacked from three sides
10. Green tracers
11. The last day
12. PTSD symptoms kick in
13. Too petrified to move
14. No support from Uncle Sam