Alexander Morales, who served in the Army in the 1970s, with his family: wife Roberta; Elvia, 7, Elena, 8, and Elvira, 7 (in front), and Ruben Verdugo, 13, and Aaron D. Huerta, 17 (in back). Morales' family has been going for years to the Stand Down event in San Diego, where veterans receive assistance. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Vance, who serves as a coach, founded the group after his own struggle with PTSD. He says it helped him get out of a dark place. He now has a degree in social work. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Bryan McDonel and his father, Mike, both served multiple tours in Iraq with the National Guard. Bryan was first prescribed painkillers before his deployment, and his dependence on medication prompted a downward spiral. Quil Lawrence/NPR hide caption

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National Guardsman Andrew Sullens (left) climbs Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Calif., with Pat Warren, lead climber from Paradox Sports. Sullens, who lost his leg below the knee while serving in Kapisa province, Afghanistan, participated in the three day climb with other veterans to honor the anniversary of September 11th. David P. Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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The Kurdish areas of northern Iraq have remained peaceful despite the recent surge in fighting. Here, a member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces directs traffic at a checkpoint in Kalak, in northern Iraq. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Kitwood/Getty Images