The Beyond the Wall the Journey to Understanding seminar program is centered on the book, Beyond the Wall the Journey Home. Written by Alivia Tagliaferri, the book is based on the experiences of Mr. Butts in Viet Nam, at the Viet Nam Moving Wall and conversations with wounded Veterans at Walter Reed. Beyond the Wall the Journey Home is a highly acclaimed book regarding the effects of war on combat veterans and is used by many universities and the Institute of Psychiatry as a reference book for PTSD. It was written with one purpose in mind, which was to act as a vehicle to explain what so many veterans cannot explain to their families, wives, children and others. The book is the voice of all veterans and was written to allow families, spouses, children and others to finally say "NOW I UNDERSTAND"!

Mr. Butts utilizes the book by going through each section and first reviewing the section then delves into what that section meant and why it was important to him. Thorough this process Mr. Butts can help explain the emotions and deep feelings that are always present in combat veterans no matter what war they fought or how long ago it was. It also will allow those close to the combat veterans to get an understanding into how these feeling affect the everyday emotions of the veterans.

He shares his story with the goal of providing more understanding of how combat veterans think, perceive and deal with the visions and thoughts that stay with them forever.

The goal of the seminar is to leave the audience saying “NOW I UNDERSTAND”!!!

                                                                      A DYNAMIC READING  ON WHY YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN GO OFF TO WAR 

                                                                                               FOR YOU

I would ask you to just stop and think for one moment as you read this, someone you may or most likely do not know is in combat in a far-off land. They are hungry, dirty, hot, tired and mentally wasted. They are getting ready to move out on another operation to try to find the enemy to protect YOU. They are not there for adventure or excitement or for medals that has long since passed any thoughts, they are there FOR YOU! Some will be killed today, some will be wounded, some will just go back and get ready to do it all FOR YOU again tomorrow and each tomorrow after that till they cannot do it any more FOR YOU! If that is because they are killed, wounded or sent home to remember each day they did this FOR YOU for the rest of their lives.

You may watch the news channel and for a brief moment think about them in harm’s way and say how bad it is, but for the families of those who never come home and paid the highest price FOR YOU they will never be able to turn to another channel, that is their news channel forever, the day they hear the dreadful news. For the wounded who make it home, they cannot change the channel either, all they have to do is look in the mirror and the ones who have the hidden wounds in their minds they just have to close their eyes. They are locked on that channel forever and they did this all FOR YOU! Most of you who read this will never know the fear of knowing someone you do not know and have never met truly wants to kill you and the emotions of knowing you are going to kill someone you have never met and do not know, but this is the world of the combat troops who do it every day FOR YOU!

Please just take one minute each day and say thank you to the troops who are standing on the wall to protect you and your family, who are willing to die, be wounded or mentally hurt for the rest of their lives FOR YOU!  It does not take much, but they will know.

 When you see someone in uniform just say thank you for protecting me. If you hear someone say they were deployed just say welcome home. If you see someone with a Purple Heart Medal or ribbon on their uniform or license plate or anywhere you see it just say thanks for sheading your blood for me. They did it all FOR YOU! 


Dennis M. Butts

Three Purple Heart Awardee-Viet Nam Combat Veteran-All American Hero Awardee