The actor was drafted into the U.S. army in 1968 at the age of 19, and after he was released he launched a career in entertainment.
A short time later Delate’s experiences as a soldier in Vietnam came back to haunt him in the form of terrifying flashbacks, and he signed up for intensive psychotherapy to control anxiety attacks.
But when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City on 11 September, 2001, the nightmares returned, prompting the actor to seek further professional help.
Opening up about his story to the New York Daily News ahead of America’s Veterans Day on Sunday (11Nov12), he says, “After 9/11, it just threw me right back into the nightmares. I would call them Picasso nightmares. Things were in pieces: an image of a friend of mine, but just his face, and right next to it would be some Vietnamese woman I didn’t even know. I was almost shocked at what I was feeling and remembering. It was very chilling and dark.”
Since then Delate has tried to help others cope with similar problems by producing his own movie, Soldier’s Heart, which is about a veteran’s struggle to readjust to post-war life, and he also participates in the annual Big Apple Veterans Day Parade.
He says, “It’s such an honour and a privilege. It’s so powerful because it is about remembrance and that’s why I love it.”