Veteran’s Experiences


  • After 9/11, there was an increased surge in patriotic sentiment and nationalism, which was one of many contributing factors that increased military enlistments. As President Bush decided to send troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, soldiers soon found themselves in combat situations, with groups of diverse people, in a new urban and rural environment, and fighting a war with no clear mission or endgame. Upon their return, many veterans struggled to acclimate back to civilian life, and structural and financial challenges within the VA further limited veterans’ access to resources for help.  

Essential Questions:

  1. How does the veteran’s experience extend beyond the battlefield? What challenges do veterans returning home face? 
  2. How do the veterans’ experiences from the War on Terror differ/correlate with veterans returning home after Vietnam? 
  3. What is the tone of the narratives around the War on Terror? How does it compare to other American-fought wars (WWII, Vietnam) in popular memory and depictions in the media?


  1. Veteran Experiences
    1. Storycorps
        1. This is a series of recordings from different troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. These stories explain the complex realities of serving abroad and the challenges of coming home and returning to civilian life.
        2. EQ: 1, 2, and 3
    2. Library of Congress: and 
      1. This is a Library of Congress project with interviews with veterans of multiple US military engagements. There is a search feature that allows looking at who served and has been recorded in the project, which typically has interviews. There is a series of curated interviews from experiencing the global War on Terror with National Guard troops.
      2. EQ: 1, 2, and 3
    3. Backstory:
      1. On this episode, we’ll explore how the psychological impact of the war was understood before PTSD was a diagnosis, take a look at the evolution of expectations for veterans’ wives and mothers, and probe the symbolic place of Confederate veterans after the Civil War”
      2. EQ: 1, 2, and 3
    4. Documentaries on veterans: (Homefront) 
      1. These are two documentary films that focus on the experiences of returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Homefront is a 2-hour PBS-produced documentary that follows the families through deployment and returns, while Almost Sunset follows two veterans who returned from service battling depression and suicidal thoughts as they walk across America.
      2. EQ: 1 and 2

Types of Sources:

  • Personal Stories
  • Interviews
  • Documentary
  • TV Mini-Series
  • Music Video
  • Music Lyrics