Journals from the Edge



After WWII and Korea, there was very little public forum about the effect of invisible wounds on returning veterans.  Journals From The Edge  is a present tense chronicle of that post WWII time period up until 1990 when the term post-tramatic-stress disorder, PTSD was coined.  Although PTSD spotlighted the psychological issues of veterans returning from the Vietnam War, it also served to provide  insights about those same issues with WWII and Korean veterans.  Many of those soldiers have passed on but the consequences of their high stress periods had significant effects on the children they had after the war, children that became known as baby boomers.  Journals is my family’s story focusing on my brother and me during that time period when we grew up without the insight of PTSD.

.General Pershing and Papa BaceIn 1918, General “Black Jack” Pershing decorated my grandfather, William Howard Michael, for his actions in combat as a medical officer during the battle of Bois de Belleau (Belleau Wood) during WWI.  This intense battle, with heavy casualties, cemented the reputation of the U.S. Marines as an elite fighting force known for bravery in battle.  However, my grandfather also experienced another horrific side of battle and it forms the multi-generational theme of my journal, which is based on my family’s history.  Here is a excerpt from his conversation with me as a ten-year old boy while we were harvesting crab pots from his rowboat in Tidewater Virginia.  My grandfather wrote an article in 1934 about his experiences in France during WWI, titled Pleasure and Pain in 1918 and in 1942 for Harper’s Magazine  titled Medical Action at Pearl Harbor (Dec.7th 1941)  These articles included first hand accounts of my grandfather’s experience with the invisible wounds of War trauma.  It was just one of the words used, like shell shock, that preceded  the term PTSD.

Many readers from military families will find some common ground in this story about two brothers trying to find a path in life.  JOURNALS FROM THE EDGE is for my sons, their children, and all those that had parents’ returning from any wars.   It’s also for anyone who has a brother.

Mike and Bill Boyum in their early adult years.   8 Mike in Lahainayoung portrait


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