On the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I officially ended. Exactly one year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day, which would later be expanded to honor all veterans and become Veterans Day.

In the 21st century, these veterans are returning not from the European trenches but the stultifying deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq. Photographers like David Jay and James Nachtwey have documented their return, highlighting the fact that the most difficult part of battle often comes after it’s technically over:

Inspirational Veteran Portraits Bobby Henline
Inspirational Veteran Portraits Tomas Young
Inspirational Veteran Portraits Bobby Bernier
Inspirational Veteran Portraits Marissa Strock
Here’s What Our Veterans Look Like After Over A Decade Of War In The Middle East
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Be sure to check out a photo history of the Vietnam War and photographs of Syria after 5 years of civil war.

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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