US Army tweet 5-23-19
US Army tweet 5-23-19
PHOTO: Twitter/ @USArmy
Now playing
02:47
Army tweet prompts painful replies from veterans
US President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees during a virtual ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, after being sworn in at the US Capitol on January 20, 2021. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees during a virtual ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, after being sworn in at the US Capitol on January 20, 2021. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
01:29
'I'll fire you on the spot': Biden tells staff to treat others with respect
President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
PHOTO: Evan Vucci/AP
Now playing
02:56
Biden signs executive actions aimed at dismantling Trump's policies
Harris
Harris
PHOTO: Senate Tv
Now playing
02:01
A proud Harris smiles as she swears in new senators in her new role
Former US President George W Bush (L), Jym Clyburn from South Carolina and Former US President Bill Clinton (R) speak ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President, on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US President George W Bush (L), Jym Clyburn from South Carolina and Former US President Bill Clinton (R) speak ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President, on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
01:16
Clyburn reveals what Bush said about Trump and Biden at inauguration
Now playing
00:54
Officer who lured Capitol rioters away applauded at inauguration
SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 08: The suspended Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump appears on an iPhone screen on January 08, 2021 in San Anselmo, California. Citing the risk of further incitement of violence following an attempted insurrection on Wednesday, Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump
SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 08: The suspended Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump appears on an iPhone screen on January 08, 2021 in San Anselmo, California. Citing the risk of further incitement of violence following an attempted insurrection on Wednesday, Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump's account. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
04:29
What impact could deplatforming Donald Trump have?
PHOTO: pool
Now playing
01:33
Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States
Amanda Gorman, a 23-year-old Black woman who is the United States
Amanda Gorman, a 23-year-old Black woman who is the United States' first-ever youth poet laureate, recited a poem at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
PHOTO: Pool
Now playing
05:32
Youth poet laureate recites stunning poem at Biden inauguration
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:07
President Donald Trump departs the White House
President Donald Trump speaks at Joint Base Andrew on Wednesday, January 20.
President Donald Trump speaks at Joint Base Andrew on Wednesday, January 20.
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:00
See Trump's final message as President as his family looks on
banon wayne split
banon wayne split
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:00
Trump pardons 73 people, commutes sentences of 70 others
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Now playing
01:15
12 Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty
(CNN) —  

It started with a simple question.

“How has serving impacted you?” the US Army asked on its Twitter account days before Memorial Day.

What came next was unexpected and heartbreaking. The tweet prompted a slew of gut-wrenching replies from veterans and their family members, including accounts of living with post-traumatic stress disorder and stories of suicide.

One such response came from college professor Lacy M. Johnson.
“My cousin committed suicide while on duty at the armory after coming home from a tour abroad,” Johnson said. She later tweeted that she did not want to speak to journalists about family’s experience.

Kristen L. Rouse, founding director of the NYC Veterans Alliance, told CNN Monday the tweets showed that veterans haven’t been and need to be heard.

“We are going on 18 years of war, continuous war in multiple countries, the cost of these wars has been born by our military, by our veterans community, by their families who often feel invisible and ignored,” said Rouse, who served more than 23 years and has been on three tours in Afghanistan.

“We also heard on this Twitter thread from individuals or whose families served well prior to 9/11. It shows that our veterans and military community really needs to be heard.”

There are about 20 million veterans in the US, and fewer than half receive Veterans Affairs benefits or services, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. About 30% of these veterans served during the Vietnam War, 12% in the Gulf War and 11% to 20% in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, the VA says.

“We can’t talk enough about it, it’s wonderful that this is getting attention, that this struck a chord with people, to see the individual stories,” Rouse said.

The Army responded to its own thread Saturday.

“To everyone who responded to this thread, thank you for sharing your story. Your stories are real, they matter, and they may help others in similar situations. The Army is committed to the health, safety, and well-being of our Soldiers,” one tweet read.

“As we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this weekend by remembering their service, we are also mindful of the fact that we have to take care of those who came back home with scars we can’t see,” a second tweet read.

Lindsay Rodman, spokeswoman for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told CNN Monday there’s still so much that can be done for veterans.

“We currently see a lot of people with mental health struggles who reach out to us,” said Rodman, who is a Marine veteran.

Rodman said not every veteran is being reached by the VA with reasons varying from a lack of outreach, to some vets not qualifying for such benefits.

There are resources for veterans, including the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (select option 1) and veteranscrisisline.net.

“It’s essential,” Rodman said. “It is the immediate place to go if someone themselves are in crisis or if you know someone in crisis.”