The city of St. Louis held the nation's first big parade to welcome home the troops after the Iraq war, on Jan. 28, 2012.
Jeff Roberson/AP Photo

Recommended reading: ‘After the Wars: A Legacy of Pain and Pride’


It is one thing to celebrate the service of America’s veterans, and another to help them really come home:

“When I raised my right hand and said, ‘I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,’ when I gave them everything I could, I expect the same in return,” said Christopher Steavens, a former Army staff sergeant who was among 819 vets polled. He served in Iraq in 2003 and in Kuwait two years ago, where he was injured in a construction accident. Upon leaving the Army last summer, he filed a claim with the VA, seeking medical care and financial compensation. He has not yet received a response.

“It’s ridiculous that I’ve been waiting seven months just to be examined by a doctor — absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Sergeant Steavens tells his story to the Washington Post, as part of the paper’s landmark survey with the Kaiser Family Foundation of American veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Among the findings: 89 percent of American veterans say they would do it all over again, even knowing how hard both the service and the return to stateside life would be.

“After the Wars: A Legacy of Pain and Pride” starts here, with two more installments to follow. 

After the jump, our interview tonight with series author Rajiv Chandrasekaran…

The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/3/14, 10:49 PM ET

Vets' daunting battle at home: reconnecting

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, senior correspondent for the Washington Post, talks with Rachel Maddow about the distance between military life and the civilian world and the challenge veterans face trying to connect the two.




Recommended reading: 'After the Wars: A Legacy of Pain and Pride'