Washington

A message for Veterans Day

Photo by Juliette Lynch

Three months have passed since we posted our stories and folded up the tents. We've gotten a lot of great feedback and some good exposure, and we thank everyone who took the time to click on our work.

We've all moved on to other things now – internships, jobs, finishing up degrees and starting toward new ones. As our time in the woods of Washington fades into memory, though, it's hard to forget the personal stories we heard from the men and women who have served our country.

PTSD Experience

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When you boil it down, much of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is born from the habits that people develop in a warzone in order to stay alive. This includes behavior like hypervigilence and constant suspicion. The trauma part comes in when a person returns home, but their mind is still in the warzone, trying to protect them from perceived threats -- at the mall, while grocery shopping or driving down the road.

One of the Guys

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By Sherri Williams
News21 / Syracuse University

Shannon Williams joined the U.S. Army so it would be a passport out of her small town and its five-screen movie theatre, Wal-Mart and Pizza Hut.

About half of the 40 girls who attended Okanogan High with her ended up pregnant while they were still in school or shortly after they got out, and they were tied to men and jobs that stifled their potential, Williams said.

She didn’t want that for herself.

18 and Enlisted

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By Sierra Jiminez
News21 / Syracuse University

When He Came Home

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By Matthew Nojiri

News21 / Syracuse University

The Marine’s family and friends come to this cemetery just outside of town to think about the kid who loved to wrestle, who spent holidays fishing with his father, who had a smile people still remember.

Someone has placed a toy motorbike on his gravestone. As a teenager, the Marine used to race up these Northeastern Washington trails and dart between trees in a town covered with more forest trails than streets.

Jerry's Cabin

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Excerpt from "All That Lingers" by Justin Murphy

Soldiers before Citizens

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By Sherri Williams
News21 / Syracuse University

Headstones at Native American cemeteries tell the stories of warriors who fought for this country since its early days.

Alongside the graves of revered warriors Chief Joseph and Yellow Wolf, who battled white settlers to preserve Indian life and land, lay the lesser-known Native American soldiers who went to war to protect the United States.

Graves at the reservation cemeteries in Washington state mark some of the conflicts in which Native Americans served: WWII, Korea, Vietnam and even Grenada.

Mothers Left Behind

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By Sherri Williams
News21 / Syracuse University

Daralyn Hollenbeck almost crumbled before her only son went off to war in Iraq.

She didn’t know how to say goodbye to Josh Hollenbeck, 29, without falling apart.

Her worries overwhelmed her. Daralyn crawled into bed late one night about a week before her son’s deployment and cried uncontrollably.

What if he doesn’t come back?

Washington veteran population

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A map of Washington state that includes county veteran population and percentages.
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Wives Left Behind

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By Sherri Williams
News21 / Syracuse University

Rayna Cawston has been through a war deployment. She understands the fear, loneliness and anxiety of having a husband in a combat zone.

When Rayna, 25, was afraid to sleep alone at night she had her girls — Mylia, 7, and Antya, 22 months — sleep with her. Scary noises Rayna heard at night prompted her to buy two intimidating dogs for an added sense of security. As Rayna’s loneliness lingered and her sadness swelled she started to take antidepressants, and had her family rally around her to support her.

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