One Michigan veteran is taking on an ambitious project: to get Americans across the country to read aloud the names of all U.S. servicemen and women killed fighting for our country, as far back as the Civil War.
Former Marine Eric Calley, the brother of Lt. Governor Brian Calley, says it's a way for Americans to honor the fallen, as well as our veterans who are still here.
Eric Calley felt called to enlist in the Marine Corps after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.
"I went into boot camp March of 2002," Calley said.
He served two tours of duty in Iraq, before he was honorably discharged in 2006. He came back to Michigan and tried to transition back into society, but spent six years isolating himself, dealing with PTSD., alcoholism, and other medical disabilities.
"What we go through, the trauma of what we see overseas in an IED or car bomb," Calley explained. "Or watching your friends die right and left -- we tend to isolate ourselves."
Calley's road to recovery began at the Midwest Marines Foundation, a non-profit designed to help marines start the healing process. He then felt inspired to reach out to other veterans, and helped found a website called "The Fight Continues." It's a resource for those he calls the "walking wounded" - veterans in the U.S. still dealing with what happened overseas.
"So what I'm asking the American public to do is open their arms to let veterans know they are out there," Calley said. "This overwhelming support, we need that support."
Support in the form of a reading on November 11th, 2012 - Veteran's Day. It's an ambitious project to read about more than a million names of all fallen soldiers on one day. The project's founders are hoping to secure at least 600 different locations across the country for the reading.
"All a location needs is a podium, a bell, and a flag," Calley said. "A high school could do it. An elementary school could do it. "
The names will be divided up for each location, so volunteers will end up reading about 1,750 names at each school, church, or business that participates.
Calley says once the names are divided, it will only take about two and a half hours at each location, a small amount of time to honor the enormous sacrifice our soldiers make.
"All my brothers in the Marines and all other services across the U.S. have given up their minds, their bodies, their souls," Calley said. "Some have even lost their lives, a lot have been wounded. It's time for America to come together as one and unite and accept them."
This grassroots efforts need volunteers to make the reading happen in just 51 days. If you would like to get involved, all you have to do is contact Eric Calley at (517) 927 - 1382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also check out www.the-fight-continues.com for more information.