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Pictured above is a frame from "In Their Boots," a documentary film series written and directed by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. More information about projects like these can be discovered on StumbleUpon.

It’s hard for me to think about what life must be like for more than 1.4 million of my fellow Americans who are actively serving in the armed forces around the globe today. I can only imagine how infinitesimally small my daily “battles” are compared to theirs.

Last year, Stumbler Brittany Morris felt the same way after her cousin was sent to Afghanistan. She wanted to better understand what he was going through, so she turned to StumbleUpon to research military and Near Eastern and Arabic cultural topics. She discovered sites with portraits of soldiers’ and civilians’ lives that she couldn’t find anywhere else.

Brittany, who’s now majoring in journalism and minoring in Arabic at Arizona State University, deepened her research with novels like The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. She hopes to report from the Middle East someday and tell the human stories behind the headlines.

“Our troops go through so much and they see so much,” she says. “Whether or not you agree with what our military’s doing, we need to support the people behind it.”

For more on Brittany’s perspective, read her article in the State Press. And since today’s Veterans Day, I wanted to point out some compelling top-stumbled sites that show soldiers’ lives and outlooks:

1. First there’s Smith Magazine’s Six-Word Memoirs, a collection of six-word phrases submitted by veterans who’ve returned from war. Turns out you can pack a lot of emotional punch in six words, including feelings of loss (“Moment of silence. Years of sadness”), reflection (“Changed stranger in a changed country”), and insecurity (“Totally scared to come home again”).

2. For video footage showing veterans’ reflections on war and homecoming, check out In Their Boots, a documentary filmmaking series presented by the Brave New Foundation that features films written and directed by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These are intimate looks into these veterans’ experiences, in their own words.

3. For more insight into what the military experience itself is like, I like to check out the Afghanistan or Iraq discover pages for recent news, profiles, and photos of the soldier’s life. You can also find Veterans Day discover pages at or

/Katie Gray profile picture