military-civil divide | KUNC

military-civil divide

Courtesy of The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1879

On a warm Fort Collins evening, Ann Diaz hands out cardboard boxes to the ladies of The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1879.

The boxes are filled with copies of the local TALA unit's two-year-long labor of love to write and publish the cookbook, "SerVe: Revisiting A Century of American Legion Auxiliary Cookbooks."

As the title suggests, it's an anthology of 100 years worth of recipes from around the country. But it's not just about food.

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

When Erin Morris went to a show-and-tell to talk about her service in the Army, she was surprised by what the kids wanted to know. They weren't interested in guns or tanks.

"They wanted to know, 'What did you do every day? Where did you eat? Where did you sleep?'" Morris said.

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

A crowd gathers under a red and white striped tent. An emcee introduces Ryan Lanham, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who lives in Fort Collins.

He’s working on a memoir about the horrors he faced as an Army infantryman intertwined with his years of alcohol and drug abuse. His vignettes are “snapshots of existence,” the emcee says, “that form a gestalt mosaic of a life upended, a turning away from the light, his dark night of the soul.”

Sgt. Anthony Bryant / Courtesy Department of Defense

A bittersweet smile flashes across the face of Sgt. Thomas Simpson as he talks about his good friend, Joey, who was one of everyone's favorites at Fort Carson.

"He just had a way about him of lifting everybody up," Simpson said. "You know, everybody was better from having him around."

Joey is Spc. Joseph Collette, who lost his life on March 22 during a firefight in Afghanistan's Kunduz province.