Honoring America's Veterans

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[Rob Boss]:  I was part of 128 Infantry out of Fort Rily Kansas with 1st Infantry Division. My first deployment to Iraq was during the '07 surge and Baghdad. And my second deployment to blood was from '09 to '10. 

I've gone to a support group for Iraq veterans for PTSD. Renee Brown who was our Soil County veteran's service officer.  She called me up one day and asked, "Hey, we've got a paddle coming up would you like to kayak the Namekagon River?"

I've never really kayaked or paddled the Namekagon before and sure enough went on my first trip, have absolutely fell in love with the river.

That first trip, it was so relaxing, so peaceful. Vets on the River is an amazing program that provides a great opportunity for veterans suffering from PTSD an opportunity to gain another support group. Just being with nature and being outdoors, being on the relaxing river, it allows us to open up to each other, which we so need.

Before this program, I mostly stayed at home playing video games and not going out in public very often. After I found out about this program, it's opened me up to a lot more activities. It's got me doing a lot more volunteering with the National Park Service.

It's...I'm more willing to go in public now from this program than I without knowing what this program was.

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2 minutes, 2 seconds

A young veteran suffering from PTSD shares how paddling with other veterans in the "Vets on the River" program at Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway has helped him.

Learn about the Vets on the River program

Many national parks have direct connections to the military—there are dozens of battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor the service of American veterans. In addition, every national park is part of our collective identity that defines who we are and where we came from as a nation. They are tactile reminders of the values, the ideals, the freedoms that our veterans protect.

The majestic landscapes, natural wonders, and patriotic icons that we cherish as a society have also inspired military members through the years. The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the USS Arizona Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty are just a few of the national parks that have served as reminders of home to those stationed abroad. On Veterans Day, or any day, honor those that have served and sacrificed for our country with a visit to a national park.

The National Park Service invites all visitors to remember our veterans by visiting any National Park Service site for free on Veterans Day weekend, November 11–12, 2017.

Looking for more to do? Explore the sites that commemorate America's military conflicts and honor those who served. Visit our Facebook page to see a gallery of NPS employees who are veterans. And, check out the NPS Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries, listed below, that honor our veterans.

Last updated: April 25, 2017