Why We Need Your Help
We need your help! A Veteran's Legacy is a journal designed with prompting questions, space to answer and share stories, pictures and other history that ensures American veterans' stories are told today and to future generations. The journal also aids in helping to heal our nation's veterans by providing a format that is easy to follow and has been effective in aiding the healing process of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
We have a first run of the journals that are ready to be shipped to combat wounded veterans and are currently being used in programs across the country to help in the healing process of PTSD, etc. However, we need your help to help us SHIP the remaining journals to veterans free of charge! The vision for this project from the very beginning was to provide this tool for FREE to the veterans as a way for us (and You!) to say THANK YOU for their service.
Additionally, we have found that the journal needs to be self published to give us greater control over the creativity, accessibility, and marketing of the journal. Our goal is to self publish the second edition and add additional creative elements which includes a family member section, places for pictures, etc.; but also, the second edition will be available online in a format that can be accessed by the user whether they are sigt impaired or have impaired mobility (arms, hands, etc.).
Funding this project is the ULTIMATE way to say thank you to our veterans and to get a tool in their hands that will help heal and also share stories so that we can then turn them into living history through various art forms (photography, songs, books, artwork, etc.)
As we have seen with the first run, once a veteran and/or family member is aware of this tool, they then ask, “What can be done with our stories and pictures?” Veterans Legacy is already equipped to capture any story or picture and then turn that into “Living Histories” through art, live events, music, other books and/or film. There are examples of those below.
These journals are unique. They are the only tangible tool to capture every veteran’s story and also say “Thank You” in a meaningful way to those who serve. Please help us self publish more of these journals and deliver to those veterans who need them most.
CLICK ON THE VIDEO above to hear portions of stories from different generations and from supporters of this project about the benefits of this journal and HOW YOU CAN HELP! Be sure to see the rewards section for some really cool stuff you can earn at different levels! Thank you for doing your part!
What We Need & What You Get
If everyone on our email list was able to donate $10, that would get at least ONE journal into the hands of a combat wounded veteran immediately. PLUS, it would help us with our goal of self-publishing the second edition and building the infrastructure for sight and mobile impairment access.
Be sure to see the rewards section for some really great rewards!
When fully funded, half of the funds will be used to ship the remaining inventory to combat wounded veterans for immediate use in healing and therapy programs across the country. The other half of the funds will be used to build the online infrastructure and the second edition of the journal. Plus, fees for this sight, credit card processing fees, and rewards expenses will also be used when fully funded.
There are millions of veterans today and many of these veterans are suffering from the emotional wounds of war, PTSD, physical impairments, etc. Journaling has been proven to help heal emotional wounds. This journal is designed with prompting questions and space to capture answers to the questions, space to share stories, and share history. This jounal can help them heal from these emotional battle scars. Not only is this journal a healing agent, it's also a way to start capturing all the stories that could be lost before they are told. A Veteran's Legacy has a way to capture those stories and then turn them back out as living history in various art forms.
We have already been successful in getting thousands of these journals into the hands of veterans who need them the most and have seen and heard countless stories of how valuable this journal is as a healing tool. Help us get these journals out now in the tens and hundreds of thousands.
This is a project that you can be sure that your support is an exponential impact in honoring veterans, helping them heal, and creating an appropriate place to remember.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP!
Share this site with everyone in your network!
- Facebook about us and share the link!
Twitter about us and share the link!
Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc to help us by honoring the veterans in their lives!
The Story of "A Veteran's Legacy"
A Veterans Legacy Journal started over 20 years ago when, as a senior art student at the University of Kentucky, I drew a picture of nine soldiers in Vietnam (drawing below). That drawing sparked a life-long love for honoring our country’s veterans in new and creative ways.
Over the course of the last two decades I have realized the power of veterans' pictures and stories. It became clear that there is not only an urgency in capturing these experiences before they are lost, but there is real healing that takes place when those pictures and stories are transformed into other forms (art, music, film and/ or books) and shared.
Big Doors Swing on Little Hinges
In 2007, I met two veterans who galvanized this project into what it is today, Gerald Belcher (US Army – Vietnam) and Joe Lane (USMC – WWII).
At a picnic one summer evening, I found myself sitting next to Vietnam veteran Gerald Belcher talking about our mutual interest in art and the military. He asked me to come to his office the next day to consider drawing a picture from Vietnam that meant more to him “than anything in the world.”
When we met the next day he showed me this picture (picture below is the drawing).
He explained that, while the expression on his face was calm and collected, he was actually in a moment of sheer terror as he and his friend we trapped behind this earthen mound and were receiving heavy enemy fire. He continued explaining that they didn’t know what to do, but realized they had a camera and Gerald said, “why don’t we just take a picture of each other in case one of us doesn’t make it out.”
It was at that moment, I realized that each veteran has a story or a picture that no one else will ever know unless they share it. There needed to be a way take veterans' best pictures/ stories and turn them into a new and creative way of sharing with others. I thought the answer was producing a handsome coffee-table type book full of veterans best pictures and stories.
THEN I MET JOE LANE!
Joe Lane and I met at a lunch honoring the remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors in our community later that year. Joe had served in the Marine Corp during WWII and had seen combat in such places as Guadalcanal, Saipan and Iwo Jima. He invited me to his home to talk about my project and to share his personal memories and memorabilia.
We spent 4 hours together that first day going through stacks of pictures and talking about the stories of his WWII experience. It was then I realized, “Who am I to attempt to figure out the most meaningful picture and story from this man’s life?”
The “AH HA Moment”
It was upon leaving Joe’s house that I realized this project was different. The project was to produce a journal for veterans of any generation to capture their personal experiences. It was to be designed in a “Question and Answer” type format with a prompting question and plenty of room to answer. The book should also have ample space for additional comments, pictures, maps, etc.
A Veterans Legacy Journal was born that day!
2010 to Today
The first run of these journals was produced in 2010. Since then, we have seen amazing results. Veterans and their families have truly appreciated and treasured the opportunity for a safe place to tell their stories.
We have also seen these journals have a tremendous healing effect on the emotional wounds of war. Research has consistently shown that the positive impact of journaling reduces the damage of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These journals not only provide a tangible means of saying “Thank You” for serving our county to a veteran, but are also very effective in helping heal (whether that is as an individual, a family or a nation).
These journals have also sparked an amazing stream of stories and pictures flowing back to us to be considered for future art, music, books and films.
And then there was,
“Wedding Day Kiss” and “Ghost”
THIS 3-FOLD STORY DEMONSTRATES THE PROJECT’S POWER AND IMPACT!
As pictures and stories flowed into Veterans Legacy, the picture below with its amazing story found its way to the project.
"Wedding Day Kiss"
Dale & Kenneth Johnson's Wedding Day
Part 1 - An Iconic Picture
The picture is of my wife’s grandparents on their wedding day in rural Kentucky in 1944. The story goes that just a few days after their wedding, he was shipped off for over a year of separation from her to fight in some of the most intense combat in Europe during WWII. He returned home after the war to raise their family and they remained married until her death for 47 years.
Part 2 – Saving History
In 1991, my wife’s grandmother passed away. She and her grandfather were going through pictures and came across this one. When she asked about it, he gave her the details but said for her to put it back in the stack with the other old pictures and letters. When he wasn’t looking, she slipped the picture into her pocket. Fortunately for all of us she did because after he buried his wife, her grandfather burned all those old pictures, letters and stories to fulfill a promise he made to his wife to keep that part of their lives private.
Part 3 – Transformation to Inspiration
In 2011, I saw this picture and was moved to draw it as an original piece of art to give my wife as a present. Once the artwork was completed, the image and story began to inspire other veteran couples to share their pictures and love stories with the project. But who knew there would be something even more amazing to come from this image.
In 2012, a singer-song writer friend shared lyrics from a song he had created a few years prior. Those lyrics were perfectly written to tell the story of my wife’s grandfather. That song, "Ghost" recounts a World War II veteran asking the question if this current generation will remember the sacrifices he and the other WWII veterans made. "Ghost" has been recorded and will soon be available on iTunes but you can receive a free download at various rewards levels.
This is what “A Veterans Legacy” is all about. Prompting stories to be captured and then turning those stories into new ways to share them with a wide audience.
The Newest Way to Honor Veterans
Veterans Legacy Night (Live and Virtually)
In November 2012, Lexington, Kentucky created and hosted the very first Veterans Legacy Night. This event packed the house to honor those who serve our country, to hear live interviews with veterans from across the generations, to witness the debut of “Ghost,” and rocked out with Grammy Award Winner John Elefante (former lead singer of Kansas), all the while raising awareness for specific groups assisting our military!
Please take a moment and back this project at any level and share this project with your networks, facebook, twitter, etc. Help us get the word out and find as many backers as possible!
Thank you for supporting this important project. And, more importantly, Thank you for expressing your appreciation to the Veterans and currently serving military service members that continue to keep our nation free.