The Oklahoma National Guard is finding new ways to help soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
The latest move is a workshop and documentary that shows the families perspective.
Staff Sgt. Therin Miller, who returned from Afghanistan this spring, says trying to readjust to life at home is the biggest problem soldiers and families face.
He says, “We have to teach ourselves to work to reopen the channels of communication. I have to try to make my wife fall in love with me again; I have to try to communicate with my daughter because it won't be the same as before. We have to be accepting of that and willing to admit we have to work on reconnecting."
The film maker of “Brothers at War”, Jake Rademacher, followed his two soldier brothers overseas.
The documentary focuses on his search to understand the experiences of his brothers during their multiple deployments to Iraq.
The film takes Rademacher through the full spectrum of military operations while also highlighting how the brothers' combat tours affect their families waiting at home.
Rademacher then visited several military bases to show his film.
He says, "What we discovered in the process was we had a lot of military families coming up to us saying communication barriers were coming down and we were seeing conversations happen that had never happened before."
That’s when the Oklahoma National Guard Family Program and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program worked with Rademacher to come up with a series of workshops based on his documentary.
Tracy Poindexter, Senior Family Readiness Support Assistant with the Oklahoma National Guard, says, “Our Yellow Ribbon events bring the soldiers and their family members to one place where we can make sure everyone has the necessary resources available to them.”
Rademacher also developed workbooks for the soldiers and family members to journal their experiences as a way to externalize emotions and collect their thoughts.
Christine Miller, a soldier’s wife, says, "To feel lonely and abandoned, then with him coming home, it is supposed to be great but it isn't. We have our own war at home as we get used to each other again and fall back in love. It is nice to know that others have gone through this too."
The Oklahoma National Guard plans to continue to use the "Brothers at War" film to help soldiers and their families reintegrate after enduring the tragedies of war.