WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — One United States Air Force veteran served her country in a different way, through a camera lens.
And on this Veterans Day, it’s not just a time Terace Garnier remembers her service, it’s an anniversary of overcoming trauma while in service.
“No, I don’t feel like a leader, but I do feel like Wonder Woman. No, I’m being serious, though,” said Terace Garnier, U.S. Air Force Veteran.
Garnier may not have the symbol “s” on her chest— but Terace Garnier’s story shows strength.
Garnier, an Air Force veteran says she’s fourth generation military in her family.
“What made you want to serve?” DC News Now’s Tosin Fakile asked Garnier. “So my dad served in the Marine Corps and so as I was living on a military base in Japan,” Garnier said.
She joined the Air Force in a non-traditional way, providing information to service members and others
“I found out that the military, The Air Force has a broadcaster program,” Garnier said. “Started off as radio show host,” she added.
But her time in the military isn’t filled with all fond memories. Garnier said she was raped while in service, a memory she now is detailing out loud in her upcoming book called “No Longer Silent.”
“So my memoir called No Longer Silent. It’s coming out on Veterans Day; this Veteran’s Day and the significance of that is this Veterans Day will be the ten-year anniversary of me surviving, being raped in the military,” Garnier said. “I came forward and reported it. We went to court, and he got kicked out of the military, but unfortunately, he did not have to register as a sex offender,” she added.
Garnier said detailing what she went through, especially on Veterans Day gives her the power. Something she wants other assault survivors who are dealing with trauma to do while turning their pain into purpose.
“I’m not going to let that man control another day of my life and I made up my mind that I refuse to let him have any more control over my life. And so that’s why now on Veterans Day, once my book launches, I will have something to look forward to because now I’m taking my pain and my struggle and turning it around to be able to help other people,” Garnier said. “You can take your power back,” she added.
Garnier wants people to know taking that power back takes several steps including counseling and creating space for peace
“That’s my whole mindset; when in my house I want to be at peace,” she said.
“So when you think about where you are right now, what comes to your mind?” Tosin Fakile asked Garnier. “I just feel blessed. I feel grateful, I feel joyful. I feel like I’m at a position now where I have survived, I’m thriving, and now I have the opportunity to help others,” Garnier responded.
And part of the joy is also highlighting other issues veterans face.
“I heard about a pageant that helps promote women who are homeless veterans and have children as well. and so for me, that resonated with me,” said Garnier. “I was homeless and a veteran. so, for me, when I saw that, I said, wow, you know, I know so many other women who are veterans who are homeless and you would never think they were because they’re still going to work. they just live in their car or they don’t have a home to report to,” she added.
Garnier acknowledges work has been done to help homeless veterans but more could be done.
“I know the VA has done a lot to try to help veterans get off the street,” Garnier said. “But it still is an issue,” she added.
Despite the dark times, Garnier said there is a light at the end of the tunnel
“That’s been my whole life. any time I can pay it forward and make life better for someone else, that’s what I aim to do. Which is why I joined the military, which is why i became a reporter, which is why I’m doing what I do now,” Garnier said.