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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coming Home by Barb Betts

Hello All,

B.J. Betts here.

My book “Echoes in the Night” is soon to be released in just days. Oh, it is so very exciting. I am eager to hear your thoughts on my work. Two of my works are about the Vietnam War. I grew up in that era. You know the dreaded 60’s a time strife and change in our country. Actually, I think I was very lucky to be born when I was. In some ways the war molded me into the person I am today. I have a deep respect for those who served and our country. For some reason when I think of the war the song Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire plays through my mind.

Some of his words still hold true today. Here are a few phrases from his song.

The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin', bullets loadin'
You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of destruction.

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy.

Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don't pass legislation

The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace. Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say  grace.


More than half of the men and woman who returned from fighting in Vietnam returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They suffered through depression, anxiety, substance abuse, alcoholism, and conduct disorders.

Some that served would suffer flash backs, thinking they were once again in the throes of battle. Thinking the event was happening again when in actuality it was a car back firing instead of gunfire.



My own brother upon his return home from Vietnam hit the dirt on the 4th of July as fireworks streaked across the sky. At night we would often hear him cry out in his sleep. 

In some cases those affected were ever on alert, afraid to sleep. Being sleep deprived, left them being distracted, unable to concentrate and often having angry out bursts. And then there were those who just tuned out. Isolating themselves. Afraid to feel anything for another human being.

In my book “Echoes in the Night” my lead character Mathew Manning experiences some of these symptoms after losing his twin brother Marcus to the war.


 I hope you enjoy my blog today. I would love to hear your stories, for those who are old enough to remember the Vietnam War. With over 58,000.00 deaths reported of our servicemen and women many a family was touched by the war.





  1. Barb, my husband is a Viet Nam vet. I know exactly what you're talking about. There were times when we were first married, that I might touch him when he was asleep in the night and he would come up out of that bed like lightning and pin me down on the mattress. Nightmares, etc. just like you said.

    I know you remember watching the war unfold on TV every night. We'd eat our dinner on tv trays in front of the evening news and those are some images I will never forget.

    I am truly enjoying Echoes in the Night, and looking forward to starting on Saigon Moon. Livia did a great job on your covers, for sure!

    Love this song, BTW. Lots of good ones from the 60's. It was a great time to grow up, wasn't it? Even with all the turmoil.

    1. I am thrilled you like Echoes in the Night. I loved writing it. The 60's were indeed a great time to grow up. We had the war. The freedom riots. Even our style of dress changed, going from very conservative to micro mini's. The Women's Liberation Movement where we burned our bras-(no I didn't burn mine.) It was a time of tremendous change. Our music told the story.

  2. Barb . . . Wow. Like Cheryl, I too married a combat vet, only not from Vietnam . . . From Afghanistan, and the effects of his PTSD have been devastating on our family. Luckily, his symptoms are now under contol. I can't wait to check out this book . . . I will be purchasing on release day and look for a review from me soon after. I have no doubt I will devour this book in a day. Thank you for writing this book that will speak to so many!

  3. Hubs escaped Vietnam and got sent as a Heidelberg Germany, God be praised. It was such a horrific time. I remember so many young men killed and maimed and they couldn't even vote. Seeing the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC up close had me bawling.

    The book sounds truly unique and amazing, Barb.Congrats.

    1. Thank you Tanya. They were young. Most of my friends were drafted straight out of high school. I would love to see the Vietnam Memorial in DC someday.

    2. The memorial is awesome and somehow gruesome at the same time. All those names... It's something I'll never forget.

  4. Aww, thank you Sara. War is war no matter where it is fought. The effects are devastating. Of the boys (men) I knew that went off to fight---none were the same when they came back. But how could they be? The horrors they saw day in and day out. My son Cody, was in Afghanistan--he did two tours. When he came back to visit he said, "Mom, you'd see these little kids cold and starving to death. No one watching out for them. No one cared. That and we had a 16-year-old come over the wall. Bombs strapped to his chest. We yelled at him to stop, but he kept coming. Mom we had to shoot him."
    The sick look in my son's eyes said it all.
    I am thankful things have worked out for your husband. Tell him thank you for his service.

  5. We were too young to be called up--and my brother managed to miss being called. But I remember watching the news, hearing the casualty count. A sad time. I'm looking forward to your character getting his chance to heal!

  6. Thank you Tracy. A lot of healing can be done with the love of a good woman, as my main character finds out.

  7. I'm so glad you addressed PTSD in your blog. A dear friend of mine returned to the USA after repeated tours in Iraq and Afghanistan forever changed by PTSD. I remember the song and the days of Vietnam. Honestly, I feel like we're in another unending war. I look forward to reading how you heroine helps the hero deal with his devastating circumstance. All the best to you, Barbara.

    1. Thank you Sarah. I think all of us from that era remember the songs. I agree, it feels like we are once again in an unending war. The only difference with this war is we are not watching the fighting nightly on the news, or the bodies being brought home with the flags draped over the coffins like we did in the 60's. And this is an all volunteer military, not like the soldiers are being drafted like they were back then.

  8. Barb,

    I also grew up during that era and had a teacher who discussed the where and why for. I believe that gave me a respect for both sides of the story. Even if I were a pacifist, I could never fault or dismiss the job the soldiers did. They and any who are in conflicts need to be honored and given support.
    The best to you on this book. I think it is one whose time has come.

  9. Barb, I look forward to reading your book. I also wrote a novel that includes a character who is a Vietnam veteran. I wrote my character as someone who tries to deal with his PTSD by ignoring and denying. Most of the Vietnam scenes are based on my husband's experiences. Unlike my fictional character, he has told his stories over and over. He feels that doing so has helped him get over the worst of the flashbacks and nightmares. As you referred to in an earlier post, I think those who go to war need to understand that they will likely find themselves in situations that will try their souls. Man's inhumanity to man can be horrific.