“Every day I live in the desert. I can’t get home.” Persian Gulf War Veteran Bud Rieckman

“You can’t be normal. War is still in the back of your mind. You can’t get rid of it.” – WWII POW Harold Fitzner

Fifteen years ago working as a rookie newspaper reporter at The Daily News, I had the privilege of writing a series of articles on local veterans and their battles with PTSD. As I listened to story after story about the lasting impact of war—the nightmares, the fear of surprises and loud noises, the suicidal thoughts, the likelihood of divorce, the drug and alcohol abuse—I learned firsthand the personal cost of combat. The plane crashes, the air-raid sirens, the explosions, the blood, the loss of best friends, and the bugs are never forgotten.

No matter our politics, these men and women are worth honoring and thanking for protecting our freedom. Their stories are worth telling. Know a veteran who you want to honor and whose story you want to preserve? Send me a message or visit memorylanejane.com.