Holidays are ‘downers’ for some of us vets

This article is written by Michael Contos who is the author of the blog Contoveros. Michael’s blog offers considerable insight on the topics of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the impact of the service in the Vietnam War, moving forward through spirituality, and intentional practices such as mindfulness, and meditation.

The article chronicles part of Michael’s experience as a 21 year old, First Lieutenant charged with the difficult decisions war is laden with . His well written account is sobering to the reader and offers deep insight into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, survivorship, and offers all of us a reminder that the holiday season holds many potential realities for our military personnel. They have given much, both seen and unseen, to protect us and our freedoms. 

Michael gave his permission to share his original work here. I encourage readers to visit his insightful and informative blog. You will find his article “Holidays are ‘downers’ for some of Us Vets” at

Photo: Pixabay


Holidays ain’t what they used to be when you were a kid. Particularly, if you ended up in the military and spent some of your formative years in a war zone like the Vietnam War. 

I could not celebrate Thanksgiving Day this year. It was the 50th anniversary of a comrade of mine named Victor Lee Ellinger, a first lieutenant who was shot and killed by an enemy sniper just three days before the holiday.  (See Cost of War.)

I’ll never forget the anguish I felt and the inability to properlymourn him. The holiday lost all of its meaning years later when I looked back and recalled the events of his death. There were three junior officers in our company. Victor was by far the best and I’ll never forget how the other lieutenant and I ate our Thanksgiving dinner in a rear encampment away from the “bush” just three days after the…

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11 thoughts on “Holidays are ‘downers’ for some of us vets

  1. Thank you for sharing this. So many of us, myself included, often take for granted how much our vets have done and sacrificed for us to be safe… and that their battles live within themselves long after the war is over. I’m also gonna follow this gentleman’s blog now too. Very powerful writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting. I agree with all that you have said here. There are great and deep sacrifices we can’t see. I’m so glad you will follow Michael’s blog. I think you will find much there in regard to the human spirit 🤍.

      Liked by 2 people

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