July 4th "Veteran Spotlight" Features Vietnam Veteran Benno Cleveland
Senator Lisa Murkowski released her latest "Veteran Spotlight" interview, this one features Benno Cleveland, who enlisted in 1968 under the Great Society Choice.
In the Fourth of July video, Cleveland talks about how he enlisted after running into problems in Fairbanks and serving two tours of duty in Dong Tam, Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart before being released from service in 1970.
In the interview, he relates to viewers how he struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other health problems, as he coped with the feeling that he no longer belonged in the real world outside of the war zone.
“Unfortunately, PTSD is a very real problem for veterans returning home from war, whether that war was decades ago, or it is one going on now,” said Murkowski. “It takes veterans like Benno, and the entire Alaskan community, to reach out to these men and women who have fought for us to help them heal. We owe it to them to honor them through sharing their stories, and we owe it to the rest of us to learn from the high levels of patriotism, commitment and service they demonstrated for us.”
The "Veteran Spotlight" project is a collaboration between the Library of Congress' Veteran History Project and Senator Murkowski. Congress created the Veterans History Project (VHP), in 2000. Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel in the U.S. Senate, sponsored the project under unanimous support. The law was signed by President Bill Clinton on October 27, 2000.
Cleveland's 12 minute video-taped interview can be seen at the bottom of our home page in the video player here.
Alaska has the most Veterans per capita than any other state in America. The project draws well deserved attention to Alaska vets in a monthly series of interviews. Alaska Veterans can be nominated to the project by submitting an email to Spotlight@Murkowski.Senate.Gov.