Pervasive stereotypes about the downtrodden Veteran have persisted since the Civil War and we still see them throughout popular culture. When we’re in uniform, we’re considered heroes—often thanked for our service—but once we take off the uniform, the world sometimes views us differently.
Given this environment, Veterans can be resistant to speaking openly about their military experiences in the classroom, at work, or with family and friends—thus hampering the reintegration process. At VA, we aim to break that cycle. One way we’re trying to do that is with the launch of Strong at the Broken Places (SATBP). The idea is to convey to civilians and Veterans that success—and healing—after leaving the military is possible.
To kick off the project, we profiled and photographed 12 Veterans—some who have struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of limb, the feeling of isolation and apprehension about what comes next—but who have ultimately transitioned from the military and gone on to lead successful and meaningful lives. The goal of SATBP is to remind everyone that Veterans carry on after their service. We know coming home isn’t always easy but we hope that Vets will see fellow Veterans speak candidly about their transition process and it will encourage others to do the same—and to not be reluctant to seek out help and support.
Over the next year, VA will continue to interview and photograph Veterans for Strong at the Broken Places. If you’re a Veteran and are interested in participating, please email us with a short bio at: firstname.lastname@example.org