War brings nothing but misery. War extracts more than a pound of flesh from every man, woman or child taught to hold a gun. The trauma, grief, and shock alone ensure that even the survivors are prisoners of war in their own mental asylum. The pain seems terrible because there are so many lives taken or at least damaged.
Let us have a look at a few photographs clicked by photographers David Jay and James Nachtwey, who have been documenting the lives of young and gravely injured American soldiers post their return from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The grim reality of war can be seen in the eyes of these veterans. These pictures depict soldiers and civilians, embroiled in tragic wars.
8th June 2013. Matt and his platoon were fired upon by personnel of the Afghan National Army. The bullet destroyed his right femoral artery, resulting in an amputation.
Marissa lost both her feet when her vehicle came in the blast radius of a land mine. She was 20 at the time.
Bobby took a hit from an artillery strike that subjected him to burns in over 60% of his body.
Staff Sergeant Harris was burnt severely when his vehicle came in contact with a 700 lbs heavy bomb. He also lost three squad members in the accident.
Hancock lost an arm while driving an armored vehicle. The bomb tore through the protected hull and took a limb and more from Hancock.
Nick lost both his feet in 2011 while he was patrolling (on tour) in Afghanistan. He described the feeling like losing a friend, knowing there was a time when they were there and nothing can replace the feeling.
The only survivor of a vehicle which was on the receiving end of a missile, Henline suffered from burns all over his body.
Mr. Young enlisted in the army a few days after the 9/11 attack. He suffered a sniper's bullet to the spine while riding an unarmored vehicle. He was just 5 days into his first tour of duty.
Jason Pak was also a veteran of Afghanistan; he lost both of his legs and a chunk of his arm when an IED exploded near him.
Staff Sergeant Armstrong was on his 4th tour of Afghanistan when he met a motorcycle crash that cost him half a leg. Allan Armstrong has taken it in his stride and since participated in the 2014 Warrior Games. Hail the undying spirit!
25-year-old Navy Seal, Bo Reichenbach lost both his legs in 2012 during his tour of Afghanistan.
Brown, an accomplished Marine responsible for getting several injured squad members to extraction, lost both his feet when he stepped on an IED while on a patrol.
Army Specialist, Morris lost feeling in her legs after an injury on tour. She participates in the Army ten-mile marathon after rigorous therapy that helped her recuperate majorly.
Chockful of optimism, soldier Tavera was blinded, burnt and lost a leg on his tour of Afghanistan. He was hardly 20 at the time.
An Army Hospital Corps member, Ramos lost an arm in a missile attack, while in Afghanistan. He participated in the 2016 Paralympics.
Veteran Burgess lost a leg and severely damaged another when he stepped on an explosive on his tour of Afghanistan.
Combat Medic Hartswick lost both his legs while treating fellow soldiers. He has been fitted with prosthetic and is receiving virtual reality therapy so that it can help him get the hang of the limbs.
Waldon had to wait seven years since losing a leg in an explosion in Afghanistan, to get a prosthetic that feels almost natural to him. He has since then become an adaptive snowboarding champion. Bravo!
Bixler lost both of his legs in an explosion while on duty.
Matt Aiken lost his wrist and leg in an explosion in 2013 while clearing an IED site.
27-year-old Marine, Michael Fox lost both his legs in an explosion while he was on foot patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.
Now a motivational speaker, an ace swimmer, and an active participant in marathons, Cedric lost his legs to an IED while on his soldier duty in Afghanistan.
A salute to these heroes and their never-say-die attitude.