14 Extraordinary Snapshots of Veteran Life Across America
The "Freedom Rock" sits along a county road between Menlo and Greenfield, Iowa just south of Interstate 35 on Nov. 2, 2014. It's repainted every year by mural artist Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II with a different memorial message and a "Thank You" dedicated to U.S. Veterans.
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U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Jabari Jones stands by the door of his mother’s house where he grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. “When I got out of the Marines I was suffering from PTSD, and my family told me to get help," he says. "When I finally got counseling I started getting better.” Today Jabari tries to meditate regularly and is more aware of what triggers his PTSD.
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Jones sits by Lake Shore Drive in New Orleans, Louisiana in a 1978 Cadillac Coupe Deville he bought for a restoration project. “I love working with my hands," he says.
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U.S. Air Force Veteran Mark Gibson plays with his son, Alexander, on the floor of their living room in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mark served in the Air Force with search and recovery and did two tours in Iraq. Today he works as a comedian. “I haven’t been my at my best lately," he says, "but my kids make everything so much better.”
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When Bobby Belinda was drafted to go to Vietnam, he says, "the war changed my life forever." He was part of a squadron called the "Midnite Raiders," and he remembers watching his friend Haley die at just 19.
"Every time someone mentions the comet, I think of him," he says.
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Domino, a war veteran and member of the Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club, rides in the Bronx Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 1, 2014.
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In Porterville, California, which had the highest per capita death rate in Vietnam of any U.S. City, unemployment rates routinely hover above 10% and military enrollment rates remain high. U.S. Navy veteran David Manville, 34, serves as president of the Student Veterans Organization at Porterville College, a community college he attends in the town. When he first learned of the existence of the group, “I nearly cried,” he said.
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Manville visits a homeless camp to search for veterans to assist. “I know it is possible to pick yourself out of the gutter," he said. "I've done it.”
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Manville’s tattoo commemorates his ports of call during four years of service in the U.S. Navy, where he was part of a detachment off the coast of Somalia that patrolled for pirates. After discharge, he had difficulty finding work, fell into substance abuse, and was homeless for one year. He now dedicates his time to assisting other vets.
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Joe Binder, a 104 year-old World War II veteran, greets other war vets during the and the 2014 Bronx Veterans Day Parade. He was the Grand Marshall.
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Larry Presher is a 69-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War. He has cancer of the bladder, an abdominal aortic aneurysm and a broken arm that cannot be repaired. He lives in Gainsville, Florida, and says he and many other veterans he knows must sell their medications each month to drug addicts in order to pay their rent.
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During his military service, Presher says he was robbed and drugged after a night out in downtown Saigon—then woke up 9 days later in a Mobile Army Surgical Unit. He soon realized he wanted to quit the Army, because he was sick of “killing innocents daily,” among other things. He was told to take a 30-day leave in Hawaii, and went AWOL.
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Two years later, Presher turned himself in and received an Undesirable Discharge. After his wife left him, he says he became “a useless drunk” and ended up homeless. In the 90s, he was living on the streets of Washington D.C. and ended up at Mitch Snyder’s shelter, the Community for Creative Non-Violence. While there, Presher started to work to protect the rights of homeless Veterans. He lobbied on the Hill and was invited to testify in congress in 1993 about the lack of affordable housing for veterans and other poor people. Participating in Snyder’s CCNV allowed Larry to get sober, find a job and move off the streets.
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Lt Col. Jesse Arnstein smiles at a welcome home party in the American Legion in Cherry Hill, N.J., after returning from deployment in Afghanistan.
Time has collaborated with the everydayusa photo collective, including David Guttenfelder, Matt Black and Malin Fezehai, to document veterans stories from all over America. For more, check out @everydayusa on Instagram.