After five years as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, I joined the Army because I wanted a challenge. I wanted adventure. Then I started basic training on September 11, 2001, and got more than I expected. After serving multiple tours in Iraq—patrolling city streets in the dead of night, hunting down insurgents, shooting at the enemy and being shot at—I will never be the same.
Matt Cook, photographed in Austin, on Memorial Day, 2008.
Photograph by Brent Humphreys

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