Over the past six weeks I have traveled across the United States with my co-author Lisa McCubbin talking about our latest book, Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford (Gallery/Simon and Schuster, May 3, 2016). We have been humbled by the tremendous interest and response to the book, and along the way I spoke with Rob Nikolewski of the San Diego Tribune. He published this article, in which he writes about the toll the assassination of JFK has taken on me, and how it affected my career in the Secret Service.
There is no doubt that writing and talking about the assassination has benefited me greatly. Strange as it may sound, I never realized or acknowledged that I had been suffering from what is now known as PTSD for all those years, and one of my messages as I travel around talking about the book, is to tell others who may be suffering from PTSD that I went about it all wrong for many many years. Holding it inside and turning to alcohol and/or drugs is not the answer. Despite how painful it is to relive and remember whatever you witnessed, I firmly believe that the only way to get beyond it is to talk with someone you trust.
You can’t change the past, but you can take charge of your own future. I am thankful that finally I am once again able to enjoy life.
During the book tour, I was able to meet with many current Secret Service agents and I am always pleased to see the determination and dedication they have to uphold the mission. Presidential election years are always challenging, but this one has some unique challenges, and the Secret Service is doing a tremendous job. I am humbled and proud to have served in their ranks.
Thanks to the thousands of people who came to spend an hour or two listening to the stories of this Secret Service agent. You continue to help me thrive.