“My Journey back to Vietnam” with Sarah Blum

  • Sun Mar 31st, 2019 12:07pm
  • Life

Submitted by San Juan Islands Museum of Art

Sarah Blum, who has worked with post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma resolution in US military veterans, will be speaking in Friday Harbor on Sunday, April 7. She will speak from her experience as a nurse in Vietnam, as a psychotherapist and PTSD survivor. “Journey Back to Vietnam” will be free to all wanting to learn more about trauma resolution. The talk is from 1-3 p.m. at the San Juan Island Grange, 152 First Street in Friday Harbor. Blum’s presentation is part of the Art As A Voice Series at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art.

Blum is a decorated nurse and Vietnam veteran who earned the Army Commendation Medal serving as an operating room nurse at the 12th Evacuation Hospital Cu Chi, at the height of the fighting in 1967. Of returning home, Blum writes:

“It was late at night and I was so glad to finally have someone glad to see me. The next day I had my first experience of culture shock when I was on the way to the hospital to visit my friend Bea and an ambulance went by with the siren blaring. I instinctively dove into the foot-well of the car, as though expecting an attack. My friend Ellie was shocked by my reaction and so was I. Later we went into a supermarket and when I stepped onto the pad in front of the door and the door suddenly flew open, I jumped back. It took me awhile to acclimate back into society.”

Blum was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for exemplary service as head nurse of the orthopedic ward at Madigan Army Hospital in 1968, where she was also the assistant director of nursing in 1970. She received her Bachelor’s Degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Seattle University and her Master’s, Cum Laude, from the University of Washington.

Blum was one of the first two women elected to the National Board of Directors of the Vietnam Veterans of America in 1983, and successfully lobbied Congress to study the connection between Agents Orange, Blue, White and Purple and birth defects in the children of women Vietnam veterans. KING and KOMO TV did specials on Sarah’s work during 1984-1985.

This talk is part of the exhibitions “MY WAR: Wartime Photographs by Vietnam Veterans” and “A War Never Ends” at the SJIMA opening on April 5, and will be shown until June 3. Museum hours are Friday-Monday from 11-5. Admission is $10 with members and those 18 and under entering free. Mondays are Pay As You Can Days. For info, sjima.org.