My purpose in writing The Triumph Book: HEROES was initially to preserve the important legacies of our nation through the first-person accounts of those who have participated in our wars, and in the process increase patriotism. Veterans are those who have the greatest love for our country, because they have sacrificed the most for it. While not everyone will have the opportunity or challenge they have had to serve, we can all develop a greater appreciation for our freedom vicariously through their storytelling.
As I interviewed veterans, I began to see another vital reason to write this book, and do it now. Many of our Iraq and Afghanistan heroes are returning with serious, largely untreated and unrecognized, health issues. After standing in front of the men, women and children of our country, protecting us from personally experiencing the horrors of war and evil, they have literally become a shield, soaking up the worst, so that we may live our best. As a result, these heroes often carry with them unseen scars and wounds, especially in the form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. PTSD leads to depression, divorce, drug abuse and alcoholism, homelessness and even suicide.
By interviewing many of the veterans who represent more than a decade of perpetual war, I quickly learned that they are suffering unimaginable challenges to everyday life, and there seems to be very little help available to them. Only a lucky few find solutions, such as Matthew Brown, a featured author in this book. Matthew is a Marine who was shot during Operation Phantom Fury, the Invasion of Fallujah, leaving him suffering not only disability but terrible PTSD. Our youngest veterans are alone, feeling the burden of helping each other through the maze of emotional confusion as they witness one after another of their comrades self-medicating through drugs, alcohol, and even committing suicide. As I talked with them, these veterans expressed exasperation that there is so little being done; and worse, that the American population seems to be largely apathetic to their struggles.
Personally, I have great faith in the people of our country; after all, our noble and selfless military personnel come from small town and every day American families. I believe the problem isn’t that our nation doesn’t care, but that our people are just entirely uninformed. I have faith in our citizens, but am deeply concerned about our culture.
To truly understand or appreciate a difficult human condition, such as our veterans face, it requires much more than numbers and statistics to awaken the kind of compassion, sympathy and dedication that it takes to make a difference. It takes stories: putting a face, a name and a life to the challenge or tragedy. It is by storytelling that we truly relate to each other and that is why I have compiled The Triumph Book: HEROES. As you read, you will fall in love with each of these veterans. You can’t help it, after all they have literally been willing to give their lives for you and many still suffer for it today.
The stories in this book are tremendous. They show the power of the human spirit to face hell while striving to build heaven: a condition in which people live in freedom and peace. These stories are funny, sad, frightening and enlightening. Each story is simply titled by the name of the veteran with their military branch, highest rank achieved, theater in which they fought and years served listed beneath. At the end of each story is a Behind the Story section where I share how I came to find the veteran, what he or she may be doing now or other interesting and pertinent information about the veteran and/or the war they fought. I have also highlighted some of the organizations which exist to support veterans in hopes that they may receive greater awareness and assistance to accomplish their missions effectively, reaching many more veterans in need. I hope that you will read or listen to this book in its entirety and then recommend it, or pass it along, so that others may have their awareness, appreciation and support of our veterans increased.
copyright 2015 Triumph Press