The history of our country is rooted in the courage and sacrifice of brave men and women who have defended our freedoms at all costs. Since the founding of America, it has been the members of our Armed Forces giving selflessly of themselves every day to keep our nation safe.
Veteran’s Day offers an opportunity to thank those who have served, do serve, and will serve.
Every life has been touched by the work of our military veterans, and it is our honor to pay tribute to these heroes – not only today, but throughout the year. In fact, the American Red Cross was founded on providing support to our troops, a duty we are proud to carry on to this day.
This Veteran’s Day, while reflecting and giving thanks, it is important to remember that the need for support often extends beyond a soldier’s military service. For many, the fight for freedom has come at a cost. And while they may have returned home, their battle continues.
Consider Kenny, a U.S. Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq as a combat medic. After returning home from service for the first time, he began having nightmares. In an effort to ease the pain, Kenny began drinking heavily. By the time he finished his final tour, he felt emotionally numb and continued having trouble with alcohol. Eventually he went to the Department of Veterans Affairs for a mental health assessment, which diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and he began receiving therapy.
Talking about his challenges has helped Kenny live a more fulfilling life. He now shares his story through Make the Connection — a free, online resource that helps veterans connect with information about mental health — to encourage other veterans to access similar resources for recovery.
“Coping with the unique challenges facing veterans can take a lot of effort,” said Koby Langley, senior vice president of Service to Armed Forces at the Red Cross. “Veterans and their families can gain a better understanding about resources for managing PTSD by watching others tell their real stories of coping and recovery on the Make the Connection website.”
By broadcasting veteran stories of hope and resilience, Red Crossers can strengthen the already powerful movement of veterans who are finding support for mental health challenges and taking major steps toward dismantling the stigma that can prevent other veterans from reaching out.
This Veterans Day, as we honor and thank those who so bravely serve our country, consider giving back to those who have given so much. Help to promote positive dialog about veteran mental health by sharing one of the many veteran stories on MakeTheConnection.
This Veterans Day and every day, we send our utmost gratitude and humble thanks to all who have served, do serve, and will serve!