Essay and photography by Stephen J. Thorne
They have been the forgotten heroes of wars from time immemorial, all but invisible as they swim the seas and scale the mountains that their wounds, physical and psychological, have laid before them.
It’s the war dead who get the attention. And rightly so, the wounded will say. Most don’t seek sympathy or accolades in their sacrifice and struggles, triumphs and defeats. They emerge from the shadows to demand what is due, and recede again.
“With regard to my stories,” wrote one soldier, who politely declined to participate in this project, “I’d prefer to keep them in my head. It’s nothing against you or the public, but I would rather be the quiet professional and put the war behind me.”
Many say they have changed, that their ordeals...