Richard Yarde returned to his home state of Massachusetts in 1968 after serving as a machine gunner in Vietnam. Between the combat he had seen and the shame of serving in an unpopular war, he said, it took him nearly 30 years to walk into a Veterans Affairs office and seek the help he had earned.
“When I first came home, you didn’t even admit you were a veteran,” said Yarde, 71. “A lot of us came back damaged, and people became recluses. They melted into the woods – they didn’t want to be a part of society.”