Nick Staback, who lost both of his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan, talks with his mother, Maria Staback, in Scranton, Pa. Maria Staback took a leave of absence from her job to move in with her son while he was recuperating at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Veterans applaud at an Oct. 8 campaign event in Swanton, Ohio, for Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Health care and unemployment are among veterans' chief concerns this election season, and both the Obama and the Romney campaigns have offered solutions. Mary Altaffer/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Mary Altaffer/AP

Mitt Romney takes the stage at a campaign rally at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Va., on Sept. 8. Brian Snyder/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Brian Snyder/Reuters/Landov

Yellow Birds book cover detail hide caption

itoggle caption

Lt. Brad Snyder mounts the starting blocks while training on his starting technique. Snyder was permanently blinded last year by an IED in Afghanistan, and is now competing in the Paralympics in London. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Rob Jones and Oksana Masters will compete in adaptive rowing at the London Olympics this week. Jones is a former U.S. Marine who lost both legs to an improvised land mine in southern Afghanistan. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Homeless veterans, their families and volunteers stand in line for food at "Stand Down," an annual event hosted by the Veterans Village of San Diego. The VA estimates that about 67,000 vets are homeless. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

A U.S. soldier watches members of the Afghan Public Protection Force arrive at the transition ceremony on the outskirts of the Afghan capital Kabul on March 15. The APPF replaces all private security contractors in the country. Ahmad Jamshid/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Ahmad Jamshid/AP

The Afghan government wants Muslim preachers to tone down sermons that often criticize the presence of American troops and praise the Taliban. Here, an Afghan youth drags his sheep past a group of men praying at a mosque in Kabul in November 2011. Muhammed Muheisen/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Muhammed Muheisen/AP

Manullah Ahmadzai, 27, lost the sight in his right eye while serving as a front-line soldier in the Afghan military. Ahmadzai is one of many soldiers who have been severely injured and say promised government benefits don't always arrive. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Afghan women pass U.S. soldiers near Bagram Air Base outside Kabul in 2010. While conditions for Afghan women have improved over the past decade, but they still face many restrictions, as well as abuses like honor killings. Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images