Children of veterans, you are not alone. It’s time to tell your story. This is mine.

Welcome to United Children of Veterans. I’m glad you’re here. My name is Christal Presley, and my goal is to educate the public about how children can be affected by a father’s or mother’s war experience. Thirty Days with My Father:  Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD is my personal story of the devastating effects the Vietnam War had on my family when my father returned home with PTSD. I never understood the war–or my father.  It would be 30 years before I felt brave enough to ask for his story.  It was only then that I began to heal.

I’d be honored if you’d join our Facebook community and check out the blog entries below.


Published by HCI Books

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3 Responses to Children of veterans, you are not alone. It’s time to tell your story. This is mine.

  1. Shanda says:


    We’ve spoken on Facebook when your book first came out. I understand your childhood story because it is also mine. My father relived his Vietnam horrors through me, his toddler daughter. His horrors became etched in my mind as he told me of his buddies who came home from the war and ‘ate their gun’. He then demonstrated how this was done through a graphic verbalization of brains on the walls. The last time I saw my father was 22 years ago when in a fit of rage he told me to get on my knees and beg for mercy. I’ve spoken to him on the phone every 10 years since 1992 but the thought of seeing him in person is a terrifying thought. I recently moved to Florida and my father lives in Georgia and I’m closer in distance to him than I’ve been in 20 years but I still can’t fathom seeing him. Since then I’ve been a psychiatric nurse and am working towards my PhD in Psychology. My way of trying to understand my father and I. I bought your book when it came out but when I tried to read it I was paralyzed by fear. I pulled it off the bookshelf tonight to try again. Best of wishes to you!

  2. Tee says:

    Dear Christal,

    I saw your story on CBS News Sunday Morning, this morning and I immediately identified with our story- I yelled at the tv, “That’s me- she’s me! That’s my story.” I too am a child of a Veteran. My dad was in the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, I never really new him although I spent a lot of time with him. When he went off to the war I was a very young child and when he returned he was this quiet, distant, but often volatile being. He would often try to kill my mother and older brother. Eventually my mother took me and my four siblings away- but she loved my dad and felt an obligation to make sure he was okay and take care of him. As a young girl, I became my dad’s protector (self imposed) because I knew he could not take care of himself. My dad never tried to hurt me- ever. When I would spend time with him, (in my 9-year-old mind it was to protect and watch over him) he would often stay in his room in the dark for days and when he’d come out, he play two songs on the record player over and over, and over again- Evergreen by Barbara Striesand and One in a Million by Larry Graham.

    My mom and my aunts (my mother’s sisters) tell me wonder stories of how kind, creative and giving my dad was. How good he was to my mother. He was her first love.

  3. Linda Sanders says:

    I’ll bet there are millions of us out there. Every page of your book resonated with me. It’s my story too. Even your mother’s reactions were the same as mine. Holy Toledo, I feel like I’m waking up from a long nightmare.

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