What Veterans and Their Families Can Teach Us About the Agony and Power of Love

In the wake of 9/11, families heeded the call to service for their country as loved ones were sent to war. After the fall of Afghanistan, they continue to struggle to reconcile the moral costs and reconstitute their relationships.

Michele DeMarco, PhD
15 min readNov 11, 2021
Veteran holding his daughter with her head tucked into his shoulder, holding an American Flag.
Photo: Unsplash

Co-written with Rita Brock, Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center at Volunteers of America and co-author of Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War (Beacon 2012).

Angelina is a mother of three. When the burning Twin Towers appeared on the news, she was spooning oatmeal into her baby daughter’s mouth while her four-year-old twins wrestled for possession of the television remote that lay on the rug.

“Give it to me!” Angelina yelled with an intensity that made the boys freeze. She snatched the remote, cranked up the volume, and stared in stunned silence as the second tower collapsed and its smoky plume ballooned into the crystalline sky like a nuclear mushroom cloud.

Over the subsequent horrifying hours of news, the desperate search for bodies, and the days of speculations about who was behind the attacks and how to…



Michele DeMarco, PhD

Award-winning writer, therapist, clinical ethicist, and researcher specializing in moral injury. I talk about the stuff many won’t. micheledemarco.com