>> that was great. thank you. can i get a round of applause for will? >> thank you very much. one thing about fun for me to be here tonight come it's always good to do these things in st. louis. and i have some wonderful people that shaped my life. my second grade teacher is here, please help me to welcome pat. thank you. [cheers] [applause] i know that this book can have that kind of impact on one persons life that happen my other teachers had on me, this will be a very successful book. so i would like to thank you very much for being here. i am going to begin the book i'm reading from the beginning of the book where i ask young people to imagine themselves in the navy seals. this is how it starts.
you stand in freezing water up to your chest. every muscle in your body throbs with pain. you are exhausted beyond anything you could ever imagine, and all around you the night air carries the curses and groans of others who are trying to survive like you, trying to survive the night. most will not. maybe one person in 10 will survive hours, days, of the punishment required to become a navy seal. the water is dark around you, and you can make out lights on the beach. the voices booming over the bullhorn on the horizon. tonight is going to be a very, very long night. you imagine another 100 hours of this and see yourself plunging over and over into the ice cube water, pulling yourself out of them.
you imagine endless repetition of situps and push-ups. torture, they call it, when they leave you in freezing water. not just for a few minutes, but for five more days. five days of struggle and uncertainty. five days of physical and emotional torment separating the iron willed from the stronger in the distance, a bell sounds three times, and then another three times. if you hear the bell, you know that another student has chosen to quit. a voice rises and falls, haunting you, inviting you to do the same. quit now and you can avoid the rest later. one by one, sometimes in clusters, other students surrender. all around you, all around you, they climb up out of the ocean and walk up the sandhill and they ring the bell. for them, it is the end.
rather than your crew struggle along with you, and their companionship and strength of the lease you, you are there for one another and you are a team and you do not want to quit on your team. but you are bone tired. you are afraid you'll never make it through the night, let alone an entire week area onshore in the brightly lit area, others are gathered inside. they are sitting one copy and wrapped in blankets. they are warm. you could be one of them. all you have to do is rise out of the icy water and walk towards the tense. it is easy. students have been doing it all night. just get up and get out and walk towards the bell and quit. then you could be warm and dry like the others. then your stomach could be full and you can feel your fingers and toes again. all you have to do is get up, get out, and ring that bell. what do you do?
>> this was just one of the tough choices that we had to make when we were in the navy seal training camps. one of the things that we talk about when you have to make tough choices, you talk about how you have to do it on the frontline. the frontline is a place where you come in contact with the enemy. it is the place where you are most challenged. yet, the fact is that every person and every young person also has a frontline in their life. for young people, that frontline is a place of a challenge where they come up against fear and hardship and difficulty. on the frontline, it is important for young people to find ways to navigate those challenges successfully. what i know is that they make the right kind of choices on the
frontline, all of them have an opportunity to create themselves. if we make the right choices on the frontline, we all have the opportunity to become people of compassion and people of courage, and we also have the opportunity to develop our gifts and are strings and to develop our abilities, so that we can find a way to be of service to the people of the united states. if you think about how you make those decisions, one of the things that we do in the navy seals is that we have an analogy to how you make tough choices in your life on the frontline. we talk about how you use a compass. what we know is that if you take a compass and you pointed in a particular direction, but you can walk all day. you might walk over mountains. you could walk through a forest. you could walk the red desert.
what happens is that the end of the day, you end up in one very particular situation. we also know at the beginning of that journey you make a decision of a change of course, maybe just one or 2 degrees. then you start to walk that path. you could walk over mountains or through a forest or through a desert. what happens is at the end the day, you end up in a completely different place. we know for the young men and women that we are working with today, those who are going to read this book, "the warrior's heart", they are at a place where they are facing a frontline in their life and they have to act with courage. i have written this book where they can think about how they make choices in their life. over time, they can make choices
so that they can create themselves and become people of compassion and make choices that allow them to develop courage in their lives and so they can make choices that they all get to a place where they can figure out how to use their own ability to develop their own talents and strengths so that they can be of service to the people around him. you know, in our lives, none of this happens on our own. as i mentioned, not only is past year, but in the book, i dedicate this book to my teachers. my teachers that i had in the elementary school who all shaped my life. what i know for sure is that in our lives we have to have the right kind of teachers and blue models. i tried to put in lots of stories and role models who can help young people think about how we make these tough decisions on our own phone
lines. one of the people who shaped my life who i write about in the warrior's heart was one of my mentors, a guy named bruce carl who ran a program called deep leadership st. louis. when i was 16 years old, he once invited me to go down to work at a homeless shelter in st. louis. as a kid, i had done a lot of community service work before and i had done some things at a homeless shelter. but what he said was not only are you going to go down to the homeless shelter, but i'm going to take you and other students down and what i'm going to ask you to do is actually spend the night air. and i wanted to spend the night in a homeless shelter. what bruce said was it is important for you to understand how all of your neighbors are living. one of the things that i tried to do is ask kids to step into the shoes of rwandan refugee
children. to step into this use of navy seals. to think about the choices that they would make that they can exercise their moral imagination and think about the world. one of the other things that roosted that with colorful for me, because he also said to me, he said it's important for you to understand how your neighbors are living because you can do something about it. what was so nice is that roosted and say you could do something after you graduate from high school. or after you graduate from college. he didn't say you can do something about it after you turn 30. the message he gave me is that you can do something about it right now. part of the message that i want to give to kids is that they have the ability right now to make a difference in their schools and their communities and to use their strength and talent to make a difference in the world. i know from the experience doing
international humanitarian work, the incredible difference that young people can make in their the world. one of the stories that i write about is my experience working with bosnian refugees. so the photograph that i took here, i took when i was 20 years old. the photograph of bosnian refugees just as they stepped off of the bus into the refugee camp. at the moment that you are looking at here, they have lost every material possession that they ever owned. not only that, but some of them have lost friends and family. i asked them ask them to think about what it would be like if you had suddenly lost her home. think about what it would be like if you lost your car or everything that you own and you had to get on the bus and you had to go into a refugee camp and start a new life. one of the things that i know is that it was hard for a lot of young people in the refugee camp.
they were in a place in their lives where they were on the frontline and they have a lot of tough choices that they had to make. one of the things that i saw was that in the camp, it was hard for the young people. because they felt like their lives had been cut short. tremendously difficult, they lost their homes and their possessions and friends and family, and it they felt like their life is being cut short. they didn't feel like they have any social purpose and the kids who i saw were doing the best in the refugee camp, they made a decision that they were going to volunteer. one of the things they started to do was work with some of the youngest kid in the camp. if you think for a second about what it's like to make sure that we are able to provide a quality education to every young child, think about how difficult that
is. then you think about what that challenges of life in a refugee camp. you think about what it's like, there is no curriculum or building, you think about the challenge. part of the reason they were able to do that so successfully is because a lot of young people stepped forward and said i will find a way to volunteer. one of the lessons in "the warrior's heart" is that if you are out of place in life when they are feeling horrible and you find a way to be of service in your school and community and a service in the world -- not only does it help the people around you, but it actually makes you stronger too. there was one boy that was 15 years old and he had no budget. he had no supplies. all he had was one soccerball. what he would do every afternoon
and take the soccerball out and there was a field near the camp and he would set up a soccer team for some of the youngest kids in the town. one of the messages that we also want to get across is that the message for young people is that you can find a way to serve right now in this tough place. if all you have is the soccerball, there is still a per user. no matter what the circumstances are that we find ourselves in, we can always find a way to make a contribution. i blog readers do a lot of adventures that i had through my own life. one of the places i take them to is rwanda. there were many people, between 800,000, that were killed during rwanda. i met children who have lost their parents during the genocide and had been separated from them during the refugee movement. i asked the young leaders to
think about their own experience -- some refugees were living in the camp. these four boys were looking out for those who were living together in a refugee camp. they were part of the screw. you learn what you need to do to survive. you created a shelter for yourself. you grab food and water when it's given out. especially when the supply runs dry. one day, if you lie in the shadows between you and the blazing sun, you hear a sound. you roll over and pressed her hands against your ears, but the sound reaches the still ended it's a little child crying. you rise and leave the comfort
of the shade and in front of your shelter, their stance to little boys. they are barely clothed with dust on their faces. they stand there with their mouths open like baby birds. you could take them into your shelter and share what little you have. you could help dry their tears and make sure they are not injured. but you have yourselves worry about too. you have yourself to worry about. everything you give to them is something you take them yourself. if you don't offer, they might find help elsewhere or they might die. the sun beats down very hard and they stand and look at you. you can yell at them and scare them away, or you could stand aside and let them in. what do you do? what do you do? well, we ask young people to imagine themselves in a situation and think about what they would do. one of the messages that we have
is that many of them may not be in a situation where they have to make life-and-death decisions about saving other people's lives, but all of them are in a position today were what they do can shape the lives of other people. that is in the classrooms and schools and communities. they all have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. the way that they do that, one of the ways that we suggest that they do not, is to think about some of the lessons that i learned. this group of 15 boys was led by a 16-year-old boy. one of the things that i write about in the book is when i asked the 16-year-old boy to tell me about all of the other kids who are in the group, never forget that he said to me that this one is powerful. and he went around the group, he described every single boy is being powerful in some way.
there i thought part of the power of his achievement. think about what that boy was able to do. he kept these boy is alive through deprivation and disease. and the only reason i think why he was able to do that so successfully at this place in his life when he was facing difficulty and pain and hardship, the only way he was able to walk that path was because for him, he knew that he didn't have to walk it alone. he was walking with the other young boys and he had the ingenuity that allowed him to look at every person around him and see that every person could contribute in some way. that was part of the power at that moment. for me, and my own journey as we take young readers through this, one of the things is we leave places like bolivia and cambodia, where he eventually -- i eventually taken into the navy
seals training camp. when i left and went to the navy seal training, i went to a basic underwater seal training. it is the basic navy seal training and considered to be the hardest military training out there. my class started with over 220 people in our original class. by the time we graduated, we were down to 21. now, what happens over the course of the training is that every single day, they hit you with a different task or challenge. so some of those challenges, they ask you in the very first week, to the edge of the pool, to jump in, and then to swim 50 meters underwater. one of the first challenges in the first week. later on, they ask you to swim and come back up. they have you do an exercise
where you have to run down through the beach with someone over your shoulders and you have to run with them through a path in the mountain. there are jagged rocks sometimes, and there is one evolution that is called ground proofing. they tie your feet together and then they tie your hands behind your back. with your feet tied together in your hands tied behind your back, you have to jump into the pool. with your feet tied together in your hands tied behind your back, you then have to swim. you come back from swimming 50 meters and what they ask you to do then is to go all around the pool. the next thing that they ask us to do when they first told us that we had to do it, i actually laughed out loud because i thought they were kidding.
they said the next thing we will do is take your face mask and throat in the water and it's going to sink down and then with your feet tied together in your hands tied behind your back, you're going to swim down to the bottom of the pool and grab the face mask with your teeth and swimmac up to the surface and back down five more times. when you have to do things like this, the instructors would always call them evolutions. the instructors would say that the next evolution is ground proofing or assisting with the underwater trend in the next evolution -- i have no idea why they were always calling them evolutions. i thought, why don't you just call them the next challenge were really painful thing that we have to deal. finally, one of the instructors explain to me why they call it an evolution. what they said was that every time you are on the frontline and you make a decision that
you're going to confront your fear, what happened is your character result. every time you make a voluntary decision that you are going to move through pain in order to serve a larger purpose, you will have a character result. it can help you to become stronger and your character will evolve. the idea is that they are going to create evolution after evolution and eventually, all of us could get to a place where her character had a bald and we would become navy seals and as navy seals, we could find a way to be of service to those around us. what i know for young people, and this is true for all of us, if we think about what it actually takes to make the tough choices and walk this so that we
can have compassion and develop our own abilities to be of service to other people, what i know is that it will be hard. we are not going to be successful every day. it's going to be difficult and we will run into hardships and we will be afraid. but i also know that if we move through that fear, we become courageous and we achieve wisdom. if we move through the things, every single young person can come to a place where they develop strength and courage and wisdom, and they can use that strength and courage and wisdom to be of service to the people around them. continuing with the training, the pinnacle of that comes with what's considered to be the hardest week of the hardest military training in the world. it is called hell week. in hell week, the average class,
a total of two to five hours -- as you are going through the training and they have been doing things like physical training on the beach, they have you running races with teams. the water off the coast of san diego, many of you might know, is often in the low to mid-fifties, and make sure that you have plenty of time to appreciate the water. they have you running the obstacle course throughout the week. it is a week of constant chaos and change and challenge and confusion. and if you ever want to quit at any time, all you have to do is raise your hand and say i quit. or you can raise your hand and there is a small bell and if you walk over to it and you bring it, and you halfway.
with the instructors do is they rig up a contraption. wherever the class went, the bill would follow. if you ask the instructors why do they do that and follow us around and make sure that it's never more than 30 or 40 yards away in the instructors will tell you that we do that because we believe in excellent customer service. [laughter] what they do is they follow you around as you are going through hell week. i can remember what it was for our class. the hardest moment of the hardest week of the hardest military training in the world. in the moment came at the beginning of the second night. adrenaline carried him through the first and second night, and then we are thinking to ourselves, i am more tired and more exhausted and beaten than i have ever been in my entire life. and i am thinking that i cannot believe that this is the beginning of the second night. at which point you hear one of
the instructors get on the bullhorn and say, that's right, gentlemen, it's only the beginning of the second night. [laughter] what they did then was they took the class out and lined us up on the beach to watch as the sun was setting. they lined us up. as the sun was going down, the instructors came out and got on their bullhorns and they started to get inside people's minds. they said, say goodnight to the sun, gentlemen. tonight is going to be the most painful night of your lives. this week just gets more miserable as we go. and i can remember that i was standing there. and i saw out of the corner of my eye that something broke in the class. people started running for the bell. you could hear it going off. we had more people quit our
class at that moment then quit at any other time. this is what was amazing about that moment. i told you about all the things they asked us to do. they asked us to swim underwater, they asked us to tie our feet together and jump in the pool. but who would've thought that the hardest moment of the hardest week of the hardest military training in the world would come when all they had actually asked us to do was to stand on the beach and watch the sunset. that is all we had to do at that moment, stand and watch the sunset. young people are always asking how many times have you been able to go out and stand and watch the sunset. everyone of them raises their hand. everyone knows that they can do it. but what is so interesting about this moment, i can count on one
hand the number of people who are i suck when they were actually doing something. people would quit when they started to think about how hard it was going to be. that is when people would quit. when they started to imagine how difficult it was going to be. that is when it would quit. one of the things that we know when we think about having to do things that we are afraid of in our lives and what it takes to challenge ourselves on the front lines and go through difficulties, one of the last things that we need to do is just fine the way in our own lives take it one step at a time. finding a way to take it one step at a time and confront our fears and do our work. all this and find a way to make it to the things that are difficult, develop our own ability and become people of compassion and find ways for us to be of service. now, for me, when i finished
with a navy seal training, i deployed four times. i first went to afghanistan and then southeast asia and then finally to iraq. they talk a little bit about my areas in iraq when i was on the frontlines. in march 2007. i was serving as a targeting cell in my unit commission was to capture made it to senior-level leaders. my team came under attack in march with a mortar attack and after several mortar rounds went off, there was a suicide truck bomb that went off. what happened was it ended up taking out the entire western walls of our barracks. that day, later that day, i was taken to the hospital and i had minor injuries.
seventy-two hours later, i was able to return to full duty. but what also happened that day was that some of my friends were a lot worse than i was. one of the things that i say to young people is that a lot of the people that i went to visit when they came home, i saw that they were on this new frontline. these were veterans and proud strong people and they came back, especially after they had been injured, there was a new place on a new frontline come and they had to make a decision about the direction they were headed. they had to make a decision about how they were going to deal with it and work through the hardship in order to find ways to be of service here. what i found is that all of the men and women who i talk to -- i started talking with young men and women and i talk to people who have lost both of their legs and one young man who lost the use of his right arm and another as well. when i asked, would he want to
do when you recover? every single one of them said that i want to return to my unit. but the reality was for a lot of those men and women, they would not be able to do that. the reality was that all of these men and women, they wanted to find a way to serve. my friends and i started the mission with the intention of challenging veterans who had come home to find ways on this new frontline in communities across america continue to serve and inspire. we worked with men and women and those like sean donahue traumatic brain injury and amanda who was hit by a mortar round. and those who came back with
posttraumatic stress disorder. others who served in the united states marine corps who were shot by snipers. adam burke from florida hit by mortar rounds. all of them came back. what we share with young people when we do this is that there was a place in their life where they came back to their communities and they were on a new frontline and many of them were afraid and it was difficult. what we did with them is we challenge that. we challenge all of these men and women in the same way we challenge them to find a way to continue to serve. adam burke, who was hit by a mortar round, ended up setting up his own nonprofit. another one set of habitat for humanity and another one became a youth hockey football coach. and then the internship at the
first lady's office, joining forces, lissa steinman ended up becoming a biology teacher and what happened was for all of them, they started to serve again and they took on this challenge of finding a way to continue to serve on the new frontline. what we have found is that to be able to serve all of them has been an inspiration for young people around the country. i finished the book with this challenge for young people. you cause over the last page. your own life is filled with possibilities. you think about the kind of story that you might tell one day about your life and love and serve as an adventure. the road before you is long. there will be moments of spectacular beauty along the way and times of deep pain.
but if you take each step, you have the opportunity to create yourself. you have the opportunity to become compassionate. to become courageous. you have the opportunity to become committed to causes greater than yourself. you will be inspired and he will inspire others, and you will find your own unique path. the world needs you. we need all of your strength and all of your creativity and all of your heart. you can make a positive difference in the lives of others. take it one step at a time and know that it's up to you. the world is waiting and what will you do? my final note to all of the young readers is to go be great. thank you. in the very last chapter, it is called your mission. they are at the heart of this
book and i wrote it with them in mind. and i direct all of them to a mission planning guide that we have set up that accompanies the book. so the young people around the country can figure out how they take their skills and passions and interests and they can turn the things that they love and care about into their own mission of service and in their communities and countries. one of the things that we are trying to do is help young people find their vocation. it is a place where your great joy meets the world's needs. if young people start at a young age, all of them can find ways in their lives to create a life of purpose where they become courageous and compassionate. we also know that this is only possible because of wonderful teachers. so we built the teachers guide
to help teachers teach this book and teach these lessons to young people and spread the message that all of them are capable of making contributions. one of the most fun things that i have had a chance to do is to talk with young people around the country about "the warrior's heart." it has been a tremendous labor of love and i am so grateful to all of you hurt thank you all for having me. [cheers] [applause] >> thank you. thank you. i think that we have time for some questions. i would be happy to take some questions from the audience. >> how does a humanitarian in situations with tremendous loss,
particularly with young people, become inspired to pursue a mission as a highly military and military assets for the u.s. navy. >> that's a great question. part of it was, and i write about this in the book, there was one moment when i was in bosnia and i was actually in a shelter in a refugee camp. and i was with one man whose own family had suffered tremendously. i remember he said to me that i appreciate the fact that you are here. do not get me wrong. i appreciate the fact that there is a shelter here for my family and my kids can go to kindergarten and i am glad there is food here, but if people really cared about us, they would be willing to protect us. i have no idea what to say to him at the time. but i remember reflecting on that later and realizing that what he said was true. but if there is anything in our
lives that we really do love and care about, that we are willing to respond with care and compassion. it is also the case that the things that we care about and love, we are also willing to act with courage and protect people and love them in that way. so i started to think about what it meant to really care about something and live a life of compassion and courage. i became convinced that there were times when people needed to step forward and use that strength to protect other people, and that got me thinking about the united states military. i was very fortunate that when i thought about what my grandparents had done for me and previous generations, that led me to think about the military. finally, i joined the military and i was 26 years old. and i still harbored desires -- desires that i had to jump out
of planes and scuba dive into all of this and that and join the navy seals. all of those things shaved my path. >> i very much enjoyed your speech. >> thank you. >> the gentleman came out writing the book that was supposed to be in regards to the bin laden attack, there were a lot of threads on him and his family. you have been a retired navy seal, hasn't happened to you? >> no, it has not. i think that they were on a very specific mission and they were concerned about some specific and classified information that was contained in the book. and of course, he was part of the mission and there were concerns about threats against him. what we have done is all the information we have shared is publicly available information about what happens.
we put it together in such a way that people can think not just about what the navy seals do and what they look forward to, but how they reflect on that and make it part of their own lives as they take on the challenges. we haven't had any problems. in fact, we have had a tremendous amount of support. it has been a lot of fun. >> how many navy seals are there? >> on active duty, and the navy seals are the smallest operating force. at any time, they're probably two to 3000 navy seals. they are not only serving on the front lines, but working in places like the pentagon and headquarter command like central command and working at afghanistan and iraq and other headquarters and there are probably about 2000 or 3000 navy seals. they started in 1962 by
president john f. kennedy. the reason why he started it is because what president kennedy wanted to do, he wanted to have dedicated and highly trained forces. those he could put into difficult situations who could not only respond tactically but who can also respond and be thoughtful about working in dangerous situations. his theory that led to the development of this was called a flexible response. the idea was the united states needed to be able to respond in a flexible manner. we needed to be rid able to respond in a flexible manner. that's what led to the development. >> [inaudible question] >> the question was what i care
to comment about the latest book on the bin laden rate. you know, i don't think it was a good book to write. i will tell you why. one is that i have tremendous respect for admiral mcraven. he was a four-star navy seal admiral and he took over from eric olsen and started special operations commands, and one thing that he said was there was classified or sensitive information in that book, and it's important that we always keep that information secret. so that we can protect other navy seals when they conduct these operations. i think the other thing is that, you know, my son has written a book, other navy seals have written books to let people know about what they are supporting, but this particular book was about a team operation.
and i think that the concern was that because it was a team operation, it should have been a story that came out as a team and not one person. that was some of my reflections on the book. >> did you have a question here? >> okay. >> i just want to say thank you for your service. you're very welcome. >> my question is, do you think of the details that you go into on the seals training, you get negative feedback? >> we have actually had a lot of positive comments. so admiral eric olsen, and share the book with him ahead of time. one of the things that we found
is all of the things that i talk about art in basic training and basic underwater field training. there have been discovery channel training and others that have been produced on us. when it comes to the advanced combat training, what we call the steel qualification training, you will notice that that chapter is much shorter. it is much slimmer because of this point. it is important that a lot of the tactics and procedures, but they all remain related. this is the grueling part. the part where a lot of people are weeded out. there are a lot of lessons embedded about what it takes to think outside of your own think tank and other people that are counting on you. thinking about what it takes to move through fear and become courageous. i have tried to assure that all of those advanced trainings
remain intact. >> do you have kids? >> what is your name? >> my name is caitlin. >> that is very great of you to ask. what is funny is that i think you just asked my mom's question. my mom is right over there, and i think that you read her mind. this is the most important question, probably, that you could've asked. so i do not have kids yet. my wife is here. one day, probably soon, we are definitely planning to do that and we look forward to that, but right now i don't have kids. >> if you had kids, would you like them to be navy seals? >> that's a great question. if i had kids, what i want them to be navy seals. well, the thing that would be most important for my kids is for them to do what they would love to do. that would be most important to
me. if they said that this is what they wanted to do. if this is what they want to do, i would encourage them and support them. >> thank you. >> you are welcome, caitlin. >> how long is the seal training? >> the seal training is about two years for the basic training and then the advanced field training was about a year and a half of training. one of the things that we do,
logan, is that we always talk about always being in training. even when we get what is called a try then. even when you put that on your chest and you become a navy seal, the training never rest. we always have to be learning and leading and training. that is part of the commitment of being a navy seal. you're going to dedicate your life to find ways to grow and learn. >> yes? >> [inaudible question] >> kim's question is what advice do you have for young people who are aspiring to be a navy seal. it is really important for them to dedicate themselves to doing really well in school. one thing that we know is that it is actually, it is the most
highly educated force in the united states military. what we are looking for are not as people of physical courage, we are also looking for people who can be really thoughtful. i emphasize the kids should spend a lot of time on their studies and they should develop their minds and intellectual habits and academics. that is really important. i do encourage young people to get involved in athletics. to learn from coaches and mentors and role models, but the second thing that we encourage them to do. we also encourage them to find a way to start making a difference. find a way to serve now. if young people can find a way to start serving in their community, what they will do is start building the habits of teamwork and learning the habits
to put them in a place where there can one day be navy seals. i am inspired by those who create their own missions. he was able to support the work that we do as the mission continues. i suggest that they developed themselves physically and continued to serve. >> [inaudible question] >> the question was we talk about the physical training and how do we actually build psychological strength so that when people are going through
these circumstances, they are better prepared to deal with situations that might lead to posttraumatic stress disorder. one of the things that we found that is really important for dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder is that it is important for people to feel connected. when people come home and they feel connected and they feel understood, they feel understood by their families and communities and it helps them to deal with some of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. one of the things that is so difficult now is that if you ask every person who set foot in iraq or afghanistan, all of the people who set foot in the course of 11 years, it still adds up to less than 1% of the population. what happens a lot of times, they find that they are in a place where no one else is able to understand. they can actually feel quite
isolated. one of the things that we have to do is make sure that people are connected to their families and their teammates and communities. that's one thing we have to do. the second thing that we have found, especially as the mission continues, one of the least actually step out of those difficult moments is to create a new mission. so that you're not stuck in a place where you are worried about what's happening. what we need is to create a new mission when people come home. some who are in very difficult situations, some who were considering committing suicide and had serious cases of posttraumatic stress disorder and looking for rifles underneath their bed, having trouble being on college canton campuses, when they felt like they were needed again, and they started to get involved in their communities and a positive way, what happened is they were able to refocus a lot of their mental
energy on the past but on the future. as they started to do that, they found ways to process what had happened. and we saw a manifestation of some of the symptoms go down over time. i think the third and final thing that we need to do is to let men and women know that this is normal. it is a normal thing to have an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation. in a situation of difficulty and violence, it is hard to come back and not want to have someone stand behind you and sit in a restaurant in the middle of things. one of the things we have to do is make sure that people know they are in a normal and natural place and let them know that there are many people who have been able to and found ways to work through them. we have to help them know that this is normal and that people have done this successfully. if we can do all of that, keep
people connected, let them know there is a sense of purpose and they are all right where they are at, then we find that a lot of people, even those with extreme cases, they can beat the condition and lead fulfilling lives again. >> we have time for one more question. >> i was driving to work today and on npr they had a segment on the question that they thought they were going to ask the candidates where they speculated that they would ask what else could be done to improve lives of the returning veterans. to build on that question, i'm just curious that in addition to dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder, how would you like to see the candidates answer that question? you have obviously thought about it a great deal. what else is laughing at lacking that you'd like to see them enter tonight? >> that is a great question. i think one of the things that is lacking in the country is that we haven't really put the
message out to the american public about what an incredible asset this group of veterans are better coming home. we have 2.4 million veterans who stepped foot in places like iraq and afghanistan. what is important for us to recognize, these men and women are bringing leadership skills. they are bringing teamwork skills that come from their deployment. they know what it takes to inspire people in difficult circumstance and they can all be assets to the community. we need to get the message out that veterans should be welcome home as assets. too many times can they think about poster might stress disorder and brain injury and suicide and unemployment. we immediately start to focus on all of these issues. and what we have found is that if we start to recognize them and we welcome them home and we asked them to continue their mission of public service, not
only do they rebuild a sense of purpose, but they become stronger by doing that. that is one of the things that i would love to see happen in the country, and that's part of the conversation that i think we should all have here. >> thank you very much. thank you for coming tonight, everyone. >> visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs that you see here online. type the author or book title on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can also share anything you see on booktv.org easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page. booktv streams on your computer online on booktv.org. >> it really was scary before we liberated. but to have this happen, to have
a blogger, you are only trying to do the best that you can for everyone and to have someone take your word and use the equipment that they had today to make your message appear to be the exact opposite of what it was and what it is, it is an unbelievable situation and it is a way to talk to someone. you never know if you are really able to get the truth out. even if i had to tell one person at a time. >> it makes me think the media energy around this book. the last time that this existed
was july 2010 when it went down. how does it feel in this situation? >> it feels good to know that i was able to use that same media to be able to get the story -- the wright story out. it is so great to feel good to sit here and, oh, my goodness, i was crying a little bit, i don't know if you saw me, it is really amazing. i made the decision years ago that i didn't want people to forget my father and what he meant to us. i had no idea i would be able to
tell the story in this way. it feels great. >> what is so beautiful about this book? it's more than a book, it is a living history. it's like a love letter to children, and it reminds us that without the feelings, the facts don't convey what the history has been. and the history of african-americans -- there has been humanity and love and family and possibility and sacrifice. >> i'm wondering if you could go back. [inaudible] >> well, you know, you hear
about and you read about this here, one is to be known and it actually rules everything and everyone in the county. and you can't imagine looking from an earlier age, but he is worse than what you have seen in your worst western. that growing up and not, my family -- my great great grandparents have come to baker's town. i don't know if they came as slaves or not, but i know they ended up there as sharecroppers with the intent on buying land. that they did. they bought enough land that the area where i grew up was harkins town.