By Lazjee Lyles
Independence Day – the beating heart of summer. A day rife with historical and emotional significance for a nation, and a day that perfectly embodies national pride and patriotism for Americans. It is time spent with family and friends in celebration of an ideal that unites us: freedom. The broader cultural implications of Independence Day are undeniable, but the holiday is also tied to individual meanings that define what it means to strive for self-reliance– and respect. Our nation’s injured veterans, perhaps more than many, are impacted by this holiday in a particularly unique way: their personal enlistment in the military is in direct correlation to the value they place on independence. No stronger motivation exists for the kind of valor and unspeakable sacrifices veterans make in the name of keeping us protected and free. Independence Day has deeply personal meanings for our brave service members; when we honor the holiday, we honor them.
HOMELAND / July 2015
Chris Gordon – Wounded Warrior Projects Alumni Honoring and empowering Wounded Warriors has been the mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) since 2003 in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Through 20 programs and services focused on warrior well-being and quality of life, WWP is dedicated to a lifelong commitment to this nation’s wounded veterans. The unifying thread among those life-affirming programs and services? Warrior independence. On their terms. WWP’s Independence Program offers injured veterans this very opportunity. Engaging warriors, nurturing their minds and bodies, and encouraging economic empowerment ensures that independence is the most viable outcome. Through effective readjustment techniques, the fuller lives wounded veterans imagine post-military become their new normal. By emphasizing the importance of network on warrior wellness, WWP helps bring the warrior, family, treatment team, and community-support professionals together in a long-term partnership to establish goals and develop a personal plan for each warrior. Among the array of programs WWP offers, Peer Support, Project Odyssey®, Soldier Ride®, and Warriors to Work™ are only a few with a laser-focus on peer mentorship, mental health, physical well-being, and economic empowerment, respectively. The newly created Long-Term Support Trust helps warriors, their families and caregivers look ahead to meet long-term needs so that selfreliance is lifelong. “For injured veterans, services like supported employment and life-skills coaching can open up new avenues to greater independence,” explains Steve Nardizzi, Wounded Warrior Project chief www.homelandmagazine.com