American Veteran: Keep It Close

Explore the Veteran experience through unique objects that mattered to them while serving.


  • This Marine Keeps Ticking Against All Odds – Like His Watch

    A Marine veteran keeps ticking against all odds, just like his watch.
  • How A Toy Car Helps This Veteran Persevere

    A toy replica of a VW beetle reminds this Army veteran she can always getaway.
  • This Vet Fought for Inclusive Hair Standards in the Army

    An Army lieutenant colonel struggles to make her textured hair conform to regulations.
  • In Iran They Left Hostages Behind; One Veteran Kept The Maps

    A failed mission motivates this Army veteran to learn from mistakes and fight for change.
  • What a Stuffed Bunny Means to This Military Family

    A stuffed bunny becomes a symbol of family and home for this Marine veteran.
  • How Rap and a Broken Mic Help This Iraq Vet Survive

    Jeff “Soldier Hard” Barillaro recorded rap to relieve stress while deployed in Iraq.
  • What a Small Gift From a Civilian Means to This Army Veteran

    An Army officer reflects on her military career and learning to look beyond differences.
  • This Native American Veteran Carried a Pebble Into War

    A Cheyenne-Arapaho veteran uses lessons from his ancestors to survive in Vietnam.

About American Veteran: Keep It Close

American Veteran: Keep it Close delves into the Veteran experience by exploring the significance of objects that veterans carried with them or brought back home from their service. Hosted by Shain Brenden, a former medic in the US Navy who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marines, the series asks what these objects meant, and why they still matter today.