Primary Language: English
Other language(s): Spanish
Residence: Los Angeles
Performance Date: 11/25/2023
Tags: military, war, ptsd
He was a United States Marine Corps veteran in the 1960s, serving his second tour in Vietnam. He was performing recon after a gunfight, making sure that the dead were actually dead. While searching through the piles of bodies, he noticed one of them twitch. They had been awake for days, he thought he might have been hallucinating. Then, He looked closer. The twitching man on the ground was staring right at him. Then he screamed. He screamed and startled all of the Marines and everyone in the area. He startled everyone so bad that nobody knew what to do. In his fear and confusion, my uncle shot him in the head. Silence reclaimed the air.
My uncle lived for more than fifty years after he returned from that deployment. Randomly, with no pattern and no warning, he would hear that scream in his head as if it were happening right in front of him. And he would see the screaming face in his sleep, the terrifying look of a man who knows that he is about to die. He was haunted by this memory for the rest of his life. Even into old age and through horrible sickness, he remembered it until the day he died.
This story was told to me multiple times during my life, most recently in fall of 2019. It was told to myself and my brothers, and to my father before that. I find the story disturbing, knowing that something like that can live with somebody forever. It is very scary to think about, and it makes me feel sorry for my uncle because of how traumatized he was.