Symposium at Aycock Birthplace to Examine PTSD from WWI to Modern Times


For many doughboys, World War I did not end when they returned home. Their lingering memories of the horrors endured in the trenches became known as “shell shock.” Today we know it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Aycock Birthplace State Historic Site will host a daylong symposium, “A Lingering Shadow: From Battlefield Trauma in World War I to a Modern Perspective on PTSD,” Saturday, Aug. 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will shine a light on what can be a very dark experience. The symposium coincides with the opening of the traveling exhibition, “North Carolina and the Great War.”

Preregistration is required for the free symposium. Sessions include:

•    “Shell Shock and War Neurosis: When Doughboys Returned from the Great War.” Tim Reagin, UNC-Greensboro Ph.D. candidate, leads a journey through WWI trenches and beyond.

•    “The History of PTSD: How Cultural Narratives Affect the Patient Experience.” Sheena M. Eagan, (MPH, PhD), Assistant Professor, East Carolina University, Greenville, examines how medical misunderstanding of mind-body connections led to cultural narratives that blame and stigmatize victims of trauma with a focus on PTSD.

•    “The Never-Ending War: The Unseen Scars of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” presented by Ray Clark, Vietnam veteran of Company K, 3rd Marine Division, and author of “The Never-Ending War: The Unseen Scars of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” a memoir. Clark’s mission is to help other veterans through their struggle to overcome the long-term effects of combat.

Breakout sessions follow each presentation and a session on veteran’s experiences will conclude the program. The Fremont Rotary Club and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9959 and its auxiliary are sponsors of the symposium. 

For additional information and to register, call (919) 242-5581 or email

Found off the beaten path two miles south of Fremont, the Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace Historic Site features a mid-19th century farmstead that includes a house, kitchen and outbuildings. Period pieces furnish the house and an 1893 one room schoolhouse moved to the site represents the grassroots statewide educational revival led by Gov. Aycock after his election in 1900.

The site is located at 264 Governor Aycock Road, Fremont, N.C. To reach the site, please take U.S. 117 north nine miles from Goldsboro or U.S. 117 south 14 miles from Wilson. Turn right from Goldsboro, or left from Wilson, onto Gov. Aycock Road. The historic site is 1.5 miles on the right. From I-95, take the U.S. 301 exit at Kenly, then take highway 222 east for 10 miles to Fremont and turn right onto U.S. 117. Travel two miles and turn left onto Gov. Aycock Road.

Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace is part of the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.  

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