LOUISVILLE, Ky. — “What was it like coming home?”
For centuries, brave Americans have stepped forward to serve, willing to pay the ultimate price for their country. They were trained in combat, ready to face things that everyday citizens would find unfathomable.
But what happens when all that ends?
Though they’ve left the battlefield, a new fight is just beginning for our heroes, and it’s one that many say they weren’t prepared for.
They come home with scars – some physical, some we can’t see – and are thrust into civilian life. Their family and friends, despite their best efforts, just can’t relate to the issues they face.
They struggle to make ends meet. They have all this experience, but the job market doesn’t have a place for them. Some even end up on the streets, unable to provide for themselves or their families.
They fight against their own minds, reliving the horrors they’ve seen. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t turn off the sights and sounds of their past.
This is their new “normal”.
When November rolls around, we raise our flags and share Facebook posts to thank our veterans for their service. But do we really know them? Do we understand what they’re facing every day, even after they’ve left the war zones behind?
We went to the veterans in our community to find out. We asked what they needed and, while they all had different answers, there was one common theme.
They just wanted someone to listen.
So, through Veterans Day, we are sharing their stories. They are stories of pain, but also stories of resilience. And we want you to listen.
We have aligned this series with this year’s Week of Valor. The Week of Valor is a week-long celebration of our veterans and military personnel hosted by the city of Louisville.
If any of these stories inspire you, please check out the list of events so we can all show up for our hometown heroes.
COMING HOME SERIES:
- 'The transition home is not sweet' | Veterans searching for their new 'normal'
- Local veteran finds new mission after war
- Veterans and the job market: The struggle of finding their next role
- 'You can't prepare for it.' | How families cope when their loved ones leave for war
- 'What failed him? Who failed him?' Thousands of veterans don't have a place to call home