NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — On Memorial Day, we remember our military members who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom, but for some veterans who made it home safely – the day can also be filled with guilt.

According to a 2018 study, 90% of people who survive a traumatic event experience survivor’s guilt, a serious symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.

One combat veteran in Fairfield says many service members sit and question why were they the ones to make it back safely.

U.S. combat veteran Alex Plitsas served eight years in the army, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“You bond pretty quickly under fire. I remember one guy I had a conversation with, sitting around couple of hours at nighttime, just the two of us bs-ing one night; then a couple of weeks later he was gone,” he said.

He says survivors’ guilt is something many veterans face while honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“There are a number of guys I served alongside of who didn’t make it home. While the rest of us were able to walk off the plane, they were carried. Today is about them and the sacrifices they made,” Plitsas said.

But those sacrifices are not only on his mind this memorial day. Plitsas says he thinks about them constantly.

“I think about moments like that, with him and many others, you think, ‘why them? Why were they the ones?’ it’s always the good guys. It’s always the joke, ‘it’s always the good guys.’ in this case, it really was and it makes you feel guilty. You know you survived.”

This father of eight-year-old twins says the guilt is common amongst veterans. The trauma impacts everyone differently and part of the healing process is regonizing that split-second decisions had to be made.

“You did whatever you could in the situation at the time, and the enemy did whatever it was that they did, and somebody paid with their life in the interim. The fact that it wasn’t you isn’t something that you should feel guilty or ashamed of,” Plitsas said.

Plitsas says one way to honor the fallen is for veterans to continue the tradition of going to events and schools sharing their memories to keep the legacy alive.

Anyone suffering with survivors guilt can also access resources by contacting the Department of Veterans Affairs