KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Images of the World Trade Center collapsing and workers searching for human remains are dredging up painful memories for combat veterans.
Calls to veterans centers in the region have increased after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The veterans -- survivors of conflicts as far back as World War II and as recent as the Gulf War -- have complained of flashbacks.
Persian Gulf War veteran Randy Lux was in a support group at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center when terrorists attacked the East Coast.
"It was instant chaos, instant panic," Lux, 44, said. "We were all right back in war."
Since the attacks, the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center has seen 75 new clients experiencing war flashbacks.
"When people saw those planes crash, it was a reminder for them of war," said Hemant Thakur, a psychiatrist at the hospital. "They have a flurry of emotion -- anger, depression. It has brought back war memories with the same intensity as if their war is happening now all over again."
When Gulf War veteran Tom Harmon, 32, of Blue Springs, learned of the attacks he said he was instantly reminded of the men in his Army unit who were killed in battle and the pain endured by their families.
"One day you're in a war. Then you're home and got a hamburger, beer and a girlfriend. Everything's supposed to be just fine, but you have nightmares. Bad dreams of being back there."
Since the attacks, there have been increased numbers of calls to Vet Centers in the Midwest. The community-based counseling programs are funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Kansas City Vet Center has recorded as many as 20 calls each day.
"The therapy is to sort through feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and rage," said Robert Waechter, team leader. "Many of these guys have children young enough to serve. They know what 'serve' means -- you may die. It takes them back."
Counselors at the Wichita Vet Center are encouraging veterans to go to support groups and talk to one another.
"We want to cut down on isolation and not have veterans sitting around by themselves," said Leon Haverkamp, team leader. "We want them to say what they have to say, so they can move on with their lives."