Brandon Blackstone barely survived the battlefield eight years ago in Iraq. His battle continues. Veterans Day has been particularly difficult for him since he came home.
"In the past Veterans Day is one of those days where I've kind of shut myself off from friends, family and society and in the past I've used Veterans Day to mourn my friends instead of celebrating their lives," Blackstone told NBC DFW at the Dallas Veteran Resource Center Sunday.
Blackstone and some fellow marine buddies researched and compiled the names of close to one-million military members who've died in combat. His friends are in Illinois, Missouri and Michigan. They along with eager volunteers are reading each name aloud. They started on Friday.
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"You lose friends over there that are like brothers," said Blackstone of his time in Iraq. "It kind of takes you back and makes you really think about the generations that came before us and what they had to go through and sacrifice."
Blackstone's mission on Sunday was honoring 1,750 World War II veterans from Texas who died. His proud fiancee, Cara Williams says this effort shows her husband-to-be may be done fighting but he's not done serving and supporting.
"He wants to help veterans with post traumatic stress disorder like him, traumatic brain injury, survivors' guilt, suicide attempt... It's a big issue and for him and (his organization) The Fight Continues, Veterans Day is just the beginning," said Williams.
Blackstone says he plans to organize readings on Veterans Day every year.