A common theme that pops up in our My Life, My Story series is perseverance. Anyone who lives a long life will, of course, go through hard times at some point. But for many of the combat Veterans we’ve interviewed, hard times are thrust upon them at an early age. That was the case for “Hank,” whose story we hear in this episode.

As a Marine in Vietnam, Hank saw combat up close, and his re-entry to the civilian world afterward was also rocky.

Hank’s story shows that perseverance doesn’t always happen in a straight line. His life – and his approach to getting through tough times – takes several turns over the decades. His journey includes a trusted dog, upended relationships, a successful career… and a photograph.

Every once in a while, a Veteran’s story like Hank’s brings up the idea of talismans, or good-luck charms. People hold onto little objects to remember good times gone by, or to ward off future calamity, or both. Do you have an object like that? If you’d like to tell us about it, or if you’d like to reach out to us about this podcast, send us a note at vhamadmystory@va.gov. We’d love to hear from you.


Seth Jovaag is a writer, editor and producer for the My Life, My Story project.

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