I picked the below extract from a feeder and placing it here. I was undecided about using it in exact format since it pulls out the nature of the young Marine's injuries, and while that goes to the story, the couple's courage in facing this adversity is a more telling story, so I added some additional extracts.
Nina Berman won a prize in the 2007 World Press Photo contest for this heartbreaking photo of a badly wounded Iraqi war veteran and his childhood sweetheart on their wedding day.
Their story is here.
Ty was on his second tour of duty in Iraq and had been patrolling the streets in a truck with six marines around al-Qaim, an entry point for foreign fighters on the Syrian border. He had been there for five months, and the mission had become routine. “Mostly we just rode around and came back. The atmosphere was not particularly menacing. They weren’t shooting guns at us any more.”
Suddenly a suicide bomber blew himself up by his truck. “It felt like somebody just blasted me in the face really hard,” Ty recalls. “I was rolling around on the bed of a truck, yelling the whole time I was conscious. The guy next to me kept putting me out – I guess I kept relighting
"One arm was a stump and his remaining hand had only two fingers. Later, his big toe was grafted on in place of a thumb. One eye was blind and milky, as if melted, and his ears had been burnt away. The top of his skull had been removed and inserted by doctors into the fatty tissue inside his torso to keep it viable and moist for future use."
They were married in October, in their home town of Metamora, Illinois, a small farming community in the Midwest.
In Metamora, people know him well enough not to stare a lot, but he gets plenty of looks elsewhere. Mostly he shrugs it off. “I give people the benefit of the doubt. If you were me, I might look at you.” If they are particularly rude, he will turn and say: “So what were you going to ask me?”
Here are some more of the couple's wedding photos and
more photos of Iraqi vets from Berman here and here.