CEdwards BP_7 Soldiers

If you are a follower of day time soap-operas, you know Brot Monroe from All My Children. In the storyline, Brot served in Iraq; and while serving, he fell in love with Taylor. He was badly injured in a Humvee explosion and suffered severe burns to his body. Brot made the decision to allow Taylor to believe that he was dead rather than have her deal with the reality of his life-threatening injuries. Eventually, he returned to Pine Valley to see his grieving fiancée in true “return from the dead” soap opera fashion. On the show, the audience saw the extent of Brot’s injuries when he returned. However, it was not extreme special effects or make-up. The injuries seen by audience on Brot Monroe were the actual injuries sustained by the actor J.R. Martinez, a veteran soldier who fought in Iraq.

Martinez used to be referred to as Corporal J.R. Martinez in the 101st Airborne Division. He enlisted in the army at only 19 years old and was sent to Iraq during the first invasion in March 2003. As he and his counterparts were riding in the Humvee, one of the tires struck a land mine. Every soldier, save Martinez, was able to escape the blazing vehicle. Martinez was stuck inside, completely conscious, for over 10 minutes. He had third-degree burns all over his body and was kept comatose for almost one month. He had to deal with the excruciating pain of the daily exfoliation of dead skin and constant burning sensation all over his body. He was kept from seeing his appearance for weeks but when he did he sank into a deep depression. Thankfully, he had the revelation that it was his character and not his appearance that should attract people to him. After 33 surgeries, Martinez went on to visit other soldiers in burn units across the nation and offer them a glimmer of hope. Soon after that, national media outlets began to inquire about his story and promote Martinez as a hero.


  J.R. Martinez unarguably holds many of the characteristics that we noted about heroes. His bravery is exemplified by his presence on national television despite the severe injuries he sustained to his face. He serves as an inspiration to soldiers everywhere who have been severely injured in combat and encourages them to believe in themselves. He is the quintessential role model and represents the idea that it is not what is on the outside that matters but what is on the inside. Among the classification of heroes, Martinez is a reluctant hero. He is an ordinary man who encountered and survived extraordinary circumstances and is helping others, as a result.



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