MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - President Obama announced on Friday, October 21, 2011, that all American soldiers will be coming home from Iraq by the end of the year.
For Mid-South troops returning from battle, the fight isn't over. The biggest issue for military vets is simply readjusting to home. Not only do they have to adjust to being with their spouse and kids again, but many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
And let's not forget many are coming home with no job prospects in a country where unemployment is still rampant.
“So many lives have been lost, so many lives, and I'm blessed," says Veronica Stalling, the mother of a veteran. "My son went over there three times and he came back.”
Her son, Christopher Stalling, has been to Iraq twice. His last deployment was in Afghanistan. His wife, Shontielle, served right alongside him.
"I was keeping my grandchildren while they were over there," she tells abc24.com. "It took them some time to readjust to the children, and it took some time for the children to readjust to them."
Readjusting to family was the hardest part. The same goes for Army vet Paul Tomlin, who deployed to Iraq in 2005.
"I have two boys, and when I came back they didn't recognize me," says Tomlin.
He knows exactly what returning vets have to deal with, and he says there's a way to deal with PTSD and anxiety.
"Just listen," he says. "The family will be able to tell what's going on with you. We like to deny illness and sickness. I denied it for years."
In the last year, almost 7,000 Mid-South soldiers have come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the first places vets come for help is the VA.
"Stick with the VA, it helped out a lot," says Tomlin.
The VA is expecting thousands more to come home at the end of the year. The VA offers medical and psychological help, and assists veterans in finding a job. Employees say all the soldiers have to do is reach out for help.