Angler’s of Honor - Through the eyes of Al Noraker
Our veterans certainly deserve our respect and appreciation for all they’ve done in providing freedom to all Americans. But until you see firsthand the effects that their service has had on their daily lives, you simply cannot appreciate the extent of the impact. This is just one of my stories…
During a recent event where I had the privilege of taking a group of anglers fishing in Colorado, I witnessed just how hard it can be. I was fishing with a veteran of the Vietnam war. Even though he has been home for over 50 years, he still suffers from PTSD. We were fishing in the mountains near Denver on a glorious fall day. We had just landed a beautiful rainbow trout that brought a huge smile to his face when there was the faint sound of gunfire off in the distance. I hardly noticed the sound, but this courageous veteran reacted by going to his knees as if he was ducking the gunfire. I thought he had simply tripped on something but quickly realized it was a direct reaction to the sound. The same reaction was repeated multiple times that morning as a reaction to loud sounds from gunfire in the distance to someone dropping something on the dock. To think that after 50 years those sounds still had such an effect on his life was incredibly impactful to me. Knowing that he still has that reaction to loud sounds after that much time made me realize how his life was forever changed. I became more aware of the tone of my voice and the quickness of my actions as I did not want to be the source of stress.
Just as his life has been changed forever, my appreciation for his service has reached a new level. I’m moved by his efforts to move forward with life and to do the normal things we take for granted. I’m motivated to do even more to help these hero’s, not to forget but to at least cope with their life today.