Stories & Service

Veteran storytelling: Strength through Serving

What follows are stories from The Strongest Generation — people united by their experiences in connection with America’s longest war. Some stories are those of our Veterans. Other stories are the untold experiences of the parents, spouses, and children of our Veterans.

These are stories told directly by Veterans and family members. I thank them for having the courage to write and to you for reading with an open heart.


  • Whoever Sits In the Chair

    June 9, 2020 by

    I was slow to get out of the car. This was the first African-American funeral I had been assigned to work. I wasn’t from the South and I’d been raised in a largely white community. I had no idea how the families would react to a white, female officer providing military honors for their Veteran.… Read more

  • Welcome to the 1%

    May 7, 2020 by

    Sitting outside at the bar with some old friends, I sipped a cold beer and listened to the conversation. It was hard to believe that only a month ago, I had been sweating in the hot sun of Iraq. I sat, enjoying the warmth of the sun and ideally wondered how this could be the… Read more

  • Behind the Door

    April 24, 2020 by

    I stood in front of the door because I could not bring myself to go in. School doors are locked to protect the children, but it wasn’t the lock that was holding me back. I’d picked up my kids through this door countless times before today. To my left, a box with the intercom button… Read more

  • Finding Our Stride

    April 13, 2020 by

    The first month of deployment felt like running the 100-yd dash — in boots. For 18-hours a day, I went non-stop, fueled by coffee and energy drinks. My unit was busy inventorying gear, getting familiar with our mission, flying orientation flights, and doing last minute training. We held a daily update brief on the status… Read more

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