The gap today between civilian and veteran is pronounced and vast. But is it unbridgeable? It is not. See Me for Who I Am is for anyone who’s ever wondered, ‘What was it like?’ These twenty talented vet-writers answer that question with directness and courage.
– Matt Gallagher, Youngblood
Because so few Americans have served in the military since 9/11—or even know anyone who has—many look to the media for information about veterans and military service. Popular news outlets, however, traffic in tragedy and often paint those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan with one of three broad brushes: as superhuman; as broken, disabled, and traumatized; or as dangerous, ticking time bombs.
See Me for Who I Am aims to undermine these stereotypes. It brings together twenty young student veterans working to bridge the media-created gap that divides them from the American people they have fought to protect. With thoughtfulness, humor, and honesty, they relive and relate their worst memories, illustrate shared experiences, explain to us the fulfillment of combat, and show us what going to war really entails. For veterans, these voices will ring familiar. For civilians, the stories open a view into a world few ever see and, in the process, affirm our common humanity.
Praise for See Me for Who I Am:
“‘I want you guys to understand‘ begins the first piece in this valuable, powerful collection. What follows are blunt, plain spoken tales and remembrances that are at once poignant and harrowing and funny and proud and remorseful.” – Phil Zabriskie, The Kill Switch
“This is as authentic as it gets. These essays reflect the eloquent, powerful voice of the 21st-century American combat veterans’ collective efforts to navigate their way back into a society that offers gratitude and respect, but lacks empathy and understanding.”
– David J. Danelo, Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and author of The Return: A Field Manual for Life after Combat
“See Me for What I Am scores a direct hit on the stereotypes—heroes or victims or monsters—that insulate most civilians from the veterans in their midst. The stories and personalities in this visionary collection will be welcome companions both for veterans who have endured the stifling imposition of simplified views of military service and for civilians looking for better opening lines than, “Did you kill anyone?” or “Thank you for your service.”
– William Corley, PhD., Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom
“The veteran-writers in this collection invite you to witness the most spiritually transformative and physically visceral moments of their lives.” – Chris Dumaine Leche, PhD., Editor, Outside the Wire: American Voices from Afghanistan