Airman Sidney Wiseman: The story of how we met a 101 year old WWII Veteran

July 21, 2021

Two Veterans from Wars 50 Years Apart - Retired U.S. Army Captain Douglas Long describes working with Freedom Sings USA on his own song and sharing that experience of healing with WWII veteran Airman Sidney Wiseman. Freedom Sings USA and Capt. Long presented Mr. Wiseman with his song on his 101st birthday (July 17th).

Together, Healing Begins:

Capt. Doug Long & Airman Sidney Wiseman -

Two Veterans from Wars 50 Years Apart

Written by Capt. Doug Long

(Originally posted July 21, 2021 - Updated November 14, 2021)  

I retired as a Captain from the U.S. Army of 13 years due to injuries sustained from an Improvised explosive device while serving overseas in Afghanistan. I served from 2000 to 2013.

A good friend of mine, Jennifer Washabaugh introduced me to Freedom Sings USA and I started attending their Zoom meetings in March (2021). Don Goodman, Steve Dean, and combat veterans helped me turn my military experiences into a song in which has helped me better deal with my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I am now attending these Zoom meetings regularly to help other veterans turn their stories into songs so they can better deal with their PTSD.

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Read more below. Or - if you wish to support classes for veterans like Capt. Long, please To learn more about end-of-year giving, please DONATE HERE.

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In May of 2021, I had an appointment with my therapist at the VA. During that visit I began talking about the Freedom Sings USA organization and how they helped me write a song about my own experiences while serving in the military and how it has helped me with my PTSD. I further explained that this is done by veterans inviting other veterans to the meetings. I also explained that this was for all veterans of any war – not just veterans from recent wars. This is where she started telling me about Mr. Sidney Wiseman.

She went on to explain that Mr. Wiseman was a WWII veteran in a nursing home nearby and that he was 101 years old. She said he was a pretty sharp fellow and that she believed he could tell us his story and asked if we could visit him to see if we could turn his story into a song.

I contacted Freedom Sings USA to inform them of this opportunity and Don Goodman said he would love to interview Mr. Wiseman and turn his story into a song.

I soon contacted the nursing home activities director and received permission to visit Mr. Wiseman. On June 4th, 2021, Jennifer Washabaugh and I met at the nursing home to meet Mr. Wiseman and set up a Zoom meeting with Don Goodman. The meeting went great! Mr. Wiseman was able to tell us about where he grew up, how he joined the Air Force, his service during WWII and about his dear wife Helen and daughter Debbie. It was a great experience!

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Read more below. Or - if you wish to support classes for veterans like Capt. Long, please To learn more about end-of-year giving, please DONATE HERE.

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Mr. Goodman and Steve Dean went to work quickly on turning Mr. Wiseman’s story into a song. On July 17th, 2021 which happened to be Mr. Wiseman’s birthday, we presented him his song. We set up a computer with external speakers to play the song and presented him a copy of the lyrics in a frame to set next to his bed. As you can tell from the pictures, Mr. Wiseman was extremely happy with his song!

UPDATE TO ARTICLE:

After we presented Mr. Wiseman the song that Don Goodman and Steve Dean finished for him, I felt a sense of purpose again. I felt like I had helped another Veteran that had been dealing with all the pain he had kept inside for so many

years after his experience of serving in WWII.

As I thought about the significance and power of music and the war Mr. Wiseman served in, I realized that it doesn’t matter what generation of war you served in, it just matter’s that we –as Veterans– can all help each other.

I found that helping other veterans heal by telling their stories also helps heal my own wounds of post-traumatic-stress that I deal with! And I realized that I had found my place in the civilian world by volunteering with Freedom Sings USA!

Thank You Freedom Sings USA for allowing me to be part of this great mission you have started!

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