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Ever Wished You Had A Friend Who Could Tell You What War Is Like? Here Are Almost 100.

Whether you’re for the war or against it, the stories of the lives it's touched deserve to be told. This project has collected almost a hundred voices that have changed because of experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Ever Wished You Had A Friend Who Could Tell You What War Is Like? Here Are Almost 100.

"100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan." All photos provided by artist Matt Mitchell. Here is the entire portrait gallery.



Jeffrey Michael Lucey
Letter Written Before Embarking on a Dangerous Mission
Baby,
If you have this letter, I am no longer around. This was not written to make you cry, but to let you know that because of you I lived a happy and complete life. Because of you I was able to experience what real love is and how wonderful the feeling, to truly be in love. Of course we also showed each other how frustrated we could really get but I wouldn’t even change that. You were the only person I ever loved but I don’t want that to be so for you. Live your life and enjoy every moment. I will always be there with you, watching you, and since you’re alive don’t play dead; live and find love again. Make some guy as happy as you made me, but make sure he treats you better than I did. You are an angel and deserve to be treated like a goddess.
After returning Jeffrey Lucey took his own life as a result of post-traumatic stress.

Scott Palmer
Statement Spoken Into a Recorder
It was my third day in country...the first guy from our company got killed.
We were using light skinned Humvees. We'd be packed, usually 8 to 10 guys per Humvee, in four vehicles going down the road. We'd basically be used to draw fire. You can't draw out guerrilla insurgents unless you have some reason for them to attack you--you know what I'm saying? So we spent a lot of time in unarmored vehicles playing sitting duck. Waiting to draw fire or hit one of these mechanicals. We filled up ration boxes--cardboard boxes--with sand taping them and tying them to the sides of the Humvee. People would get hit in Humvees--a lot--over there and those MRE boxes didn't do much but slow us down.

When I got back I went to school. During my first semester at Holyoke Community College a team of U.S. Army recruiters had this blinged out Humvee. It was like a recruiting model Humvee, with a big "Go Army" logo on the side. It had a huge amp, enormous cables, and sub-woofers-- it was probably a several thousand dollar sound system with a big 100 disc CD changer in it.
And I think that is... At the time I thought that was the most disgusting, misleading, thing to advertise the military with. What they should have done is have some pictures of what Humvees really look like, and what they look like after they get hit with improvised explosive devices and while people are still in them.

Nicole A. Costigan
Letters home
February 2007 – We recently transported one soldier who was intubated, but still alert during the flight. He asked me for a pen and paper. He asked if he was going to die. He asked us to please not let him die. I’m not giving out paper anymore.

April 2011 – While I was packaging my patient in the ICU for the flight to Germany, I noticed giant tears rolling down his face. Ten feet from us an American flag was being draped over a young soldier’s body. I followed other staff members into the ER. We all lined up at attention and gave this young soldier a salute as his lifeless body was wheeled by us. I can’t begin to describe what I was feeling at that moment. I felt like he was there, crying with the rest of us because his life was taken much too soon.

I have the best job in the Air Force. It’s not a pretty job and I’ll never be the same person I was before I left for my first deployment. I’ve seen how war has scarred lives in more ways than any of us will ever be able to comprehend. It has ruined a part of me too, deep inside, but I will continue to do it because it is the most rewarding experience I will have in this lifetime.

Rick Yarosh
Written Statement
Whether it's a look in the mirror, or the thought of a lost friend , it all goes back to that day.
Sergeant Luis Montes, Specialist Andrew Loe and I loaded into our Bradley, ready for a full day of patrols. After a short time, our vehicle was hit by an IED. The fuel cell ignited and engulfed us in flames.

We escaped the Bradley exceptionally fast. I escaped out the top hatch of the turret. I knew I needed to get off the vehicle. With my face on fire, I didn't know where the edge of the Bradley was and when I did find the edge I didn't know where the ground was. When I jumped off the Bradley I broke my right leg, severing an artery, which resulted in an amputation.

“Stop drop and roll” is no way to put out a fire when you're covered in fuel. I found that out while I was rolling on the ground, doing nothing but setting the grass on fire. I ended up rolling in a canal, which extinguished the flames.

The lost friend I speak of is Sergeant Luis Montes, he passed away due to his injuries seven days later. Specialist Andrew Loe survived with 20% burns, but the thought of that incident goes through his mind every day. I'm lucky and blessed to be here, I'm able to share my story with others.
That day started the same as every other day, but that day has never ended.





















True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Social media spats usually end in ugly words or blocking people—unless you're Patton Oswalt.

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt has made a name for himself off screen as a blunt yet caring, compassionate human. His raw openness after his wife's unexpected passing and his willingness to engage in conversations about depression and dadhood after her death has touched people's hearts and opened people's minds.

And once again on Twitter, Oswalt has proven that he is unquestionably one of the most kind-hearted dudes in Hollywood.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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