Even though the war had ended on the battlefield many years ago, the sad and sobering truth is that many veterans brought home the war and are forced to live with the scars for life.

Exactly a year after World War 1 (WW1) officially ended on November 11th 1918, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th of every year as Armistice Day. The essence of that day, which is now known as Veteran’s Day, is to honor all veterans.

Following their returns from wars in Iran and Afghanistan, Photographers like David Jay and James Nachtwey have documented the sad truth about how badly injured American soldiers looked.

James stated:

“I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The vents I recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.”

David Jay, in an interview, revealed that his pictures present an opportunity to talk about issues which the society shies away from.

He said:

“These pictures present an opportunity to open a dialogue about issues we are not necessarily comfortable with…and also issues that we are responsible for. The images can be uncomfortable for the viewer. It forces us to confront our fears and inhibitions about life, death, s*xuality, sickness, relationships, etc. Reality is not always pretty. This is reality. Let’s address it.”

Pictures And Corresponding Stories Of Some Veterans

20 Bobby Henline

He was trapped inside a transport when a roadside bomb hit him in Iraq. He was the only survivor of the bomb blast.

19 Tomas Young

After the 2001 September 11th attacks, Tomas enlisted in the army. Days after his enlistment, he was sent to Iraq.

While riding in an unarmoured vehicle in Sadr City, he was shot in the spine, and that left him paralyzed. Tomas died in 2014 due to complications that arose from his injuries.

18 Bobby Bernier

During an attack, Bobby Bernier got hit by incoming artillery, and that made him sustain burns on over 60% of his body. Here is his picture with his daughter, Layla.

17 Marissa Strock

At age 20, Specialist Marissa Strock’s vehicle was hit by an IED buried in the road. Both legs didn’t survive the incident.



16 Jerral Hancock

Jerral was driving a tank when a roadside bomb hit his tank and pierced the armor, thus breaching the interior. He lives in Lancaster with his two children.

15 Joel Tavera

At the age of 20, Joel was injured and severely burned in Iraq. Since the injury, he has had over 90 surgeries to repair his body, has lost his sight, and lost a leg.

In an interview with him, he said, “Looks are deceiving…what looks like a half-empty glass is actually three-quarters full.”

14 Shilo Harris

On February 19th 2007, Staff Sergeant Shilo was hit by a roadside bomb that is estimated at 700lbs.

Not only was he severely burnt from the hit, but he also lost three men out of a crew of five. Only Shilo and his driver survived.

13 Jason Pak

While on a foot patrol in Zangabad, Afghanistan, First Lieutenant Jason Pak suffered an IED explosion. The explosion took his legs and part of his hands but not his high spirit.

12 Bo Reichenbach

On July 17th 2012, during a tour in Afghanistan, Navy Seal Bo Reichenbach was injured. He lost both legs to this injury.

11 David Bixler

In his service in Afghanistan, Army Corporal David Bixler lost both legs.

10 Allan Armstrong

Army Staff Sergeant Allan Armstrong was sent to report at work in Iraq and Afghanistan four times.

He had only finished one of his training when a motorcycle crash caused him to lose his legs.

He is known to have come first in the 2014 warrior games – 100 and 200-meter sprints session.

9 Adam Hartswick

While treating wounded soldiers in Afghanistan, Army combat medic Sergeant Adam Hartswick lost his legs and suffered a brain injury.

He has since been placed on virtual reality therapy and has learned to walk again.

8 Cedric King

He lost both of his legs to IED in Afghanistan.

With the help of his daughters, he learned how to swim, and from there, he completed a Half Ironman race, the New York City marathon, and completed the 2014 Boston Marathon in a little over six hours.

Alongside his titles, Cedric is a known motivational speaker.

7 Christian Brown

On December 13th, 2011, while leading his squad on foot patrol in Jelmand province, Afghanistan, Marine CPL Christian stepped on an IED. The explosion cost him his legs.

One was blown off above the knee and the other above the hip. Few days before the explosion, brown had carried a wounded marine 1000 feet to a lingering helicopter.

6 Daniel Burgess

Daniel stepped on an IED. He completely lost one of his legs, and the other got damaged.

5 Jose Ramos

In an Iraqi attack, retired Navy hospital corpsman Jose Ramos lost an arm. He has since been involved in Paralympics activities. In discussion with him, he said, “Running is what I do to relax.”

4 Mathew Aiken

While clearing an IED site in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, EOD Staff Sergeant Aiken lost a part of his leg and hand.

3 Michael Fox

On November 15th 2011, marine Michael was injured in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan while on foot patrol. He lost both legs.

2 Stephanie Morris

In an attack in Afghanistan, Army specialist Stephanie suffered serious leg injuries. She has since run the Army ten-miler with the help of physical therapy.

In her words, “I have to do it for them – speaking of the friends she lost in the attack.”

1 Wayne Waldon

Retired Army Captain Wayne Waldon lost a leg in Iraq. Seven years after his loss, he has not only been able to walk but has become an adaptive snowboarding champion.

In his words, “The prosthetic leg doesn’t feel stuck to me anymore. It has become part of me.”

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