Honoring the Strength and Courage of our Veterans
“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
From the front lines to back home, our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for their families, their communities and our country. But the brave and determined have become increasingly lost and forgotten. The ravages of PTSD, body mutilation due to IEDs, and nightmares resounding with echoes of the battlefield are often the private hells of our returned heroes and warriors. The home that once emboldened our veterans during their most harrowing war time experiences has too often ignored or neglected them upon their return.
Every day, an average of 22 veterans take their own life. This disquieting statistic is rarely noted by the media or our elected leaders. As a tribute to veterans, The Lionhearted project was created. Through art, film, and the written word, Lionhearted gives a voice to 22 veterans from the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy.
Veteran artist Shawn Ganther created 22 art pieces featuring each veteran’s combat story and their experiences of courage and camaraderie while in Afghanistan, Iraq and other active war zones. The individual pieces – created on pieces of body armor – were painted in the colors, red, white and blue. Combined, they create a 6-foot long, 350-pound mosaic of the American flag. This tribute to veterans’ stories will live forever enshrined at the National Veterans Art Museum so that their loyal self-sacrifice may become, and remain, a source of our national pride.
The creative forces behind the Lionhearted film are Co-Directors and Producers Owen Garitty and Shane Ruiz. Over the course of one year, Owen, Shane, and the production team traveled the United States documenting the powerful stories and experiences of 22 warriors: the Lionhearted. The final 24 minute documentary shares their raw stories during deployment in what the film’s producers describe as “the first uncensored and real look at what it means to be a veteran”. Most of these men and women featured in the film said that opening up about their experiences allowed them to release inner demons, changing – and possibly saving – their lives. By sharing these experiences in film, they hope to also impact other veteran’s lives.
View each veteran’s short film and learn more about the Lionhearted project at www.lionheartedfilm.com