More than 200,000 veterans reside in The Natural State, but not all fighters left the battlefield unscathed. Nearly one in five veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.
"It hasn't been easy. It's been a fight."
Marine veteran Jonathan devoted to Operation Iraqi Freedom, spending two eight month tours in Fallujah in 2004 and 2006. But, he's still fighting on the front line, five years after leaving the battlefield.
"Even after my first tour, I had issues when I got home," Jonathan said.
Jonathan is just one of the many fighters returning home from war, now waging battle against post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a condition that can occur after someone has gone through a catastrophic situation, like a war.
"When we got hit, a lot of our guys got burned real bad. There's survivors guilt. A lot of close calls, a lot of stuff happens to you and you walk away unscratched and then your buddy takes a random round. I think about those people everyday, still everyday I mean, all the time, guys that never ever saw their own kids borm while they were gone. They die while they are over there. That's sad."
Jonathan is now haunted by his former military life.
"A lot of nightmares, loud noises, setting me off," he said. "They'd be really vivid a lot of times, they would involved my family. They would be in an Iraqi scene. I'd think my house was getting attacked. My wife and the girls and we'd be getting attacked and I can't find my rifle and stuff like that. It would melt the two worlds and those are the worst."
Adjusting to life back in the states is far from easy.
"Everyday life over here is completely different than your life over there. I avoid a lot of public stuff. I avoid crowds, I can't stand crowds. I had a hard time driving, I couldn't drive for a while. When I got back, I just straight up didn't drive at all for a few weeks. The second tour, that was the hardest ten months of my life," said Jonathan.
Jonathan's wife, Ashley, is happy to have him home but she noticed a flip in her husbands behavior.
"It was great having him back but the first six to eight months, I was basically having to learn a new person. He wasn't the same as before he left," said Ashley.
She watched as her husband faced the demon that is PTSD.
"It just changed him completely. It was definitely the anger, like the little things that, I mean, if I hadn't taken the trash out, he would just snap, There's been numerous times that I've tried to wake him up and it's like it snapped him out of something," she said.
Kim Copps with Veterans Affairs of the Ozarks explained just how those who sacrifice so much come home with painful, invisible scars.
"Trauma is trauma. Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, it's trauma. It's what happens to our brain when something really bad happens. Combat veterans who deploy and that are away from their families, they live in a constant state of trauma," said Copps.
According to Kim, Jonathan is not alone. She works daily, helping veterans in Northwest Arkansas to defeat PTSD.
"War is evil. You see trash on the side of the road and it's not necessarily going to be a bomb, but in the back of our mind, if you've seen one before then, your brain registers that. When you come home and you see trash on the side of the road, and your brain goes back," said Kim.
"There are many solutions, life is full of problems and you can stay stuck in those problems, but there are lots of ways to make things better," said Kim.
Ashley said one of those ways, is to simply lend an ear.
"Take it slowly, all you can do is just be there for them. All you can do is listen if they want to talk. If they don't want to talk, all you can do is just sit there,"
For now, Jonathan and his family are working to put the past behind them and fighting for a future free of pain.
"I'm basically learning to cope. It's better now than when I first returned and I don't think there's anyway I'll ever forget it. There's no way I'd want to forget it. It's a piece of who I am, good or bad. I can't forget about it or take it away from the equation. It is what it is."
If you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD, click here.