There's a lot to be said about the benefits of military service: the camaraderie, the steady paycheck, knowing the reward of a hard days work. But perhaps most important of all is a solid understanding of the value of gallows humor.

Nobody exemplifies this more than Irish Defense Forces veteran Shay Bradley, who made sure that his Oct. 12 funeral ended not only with sorrow, but also laughter.

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Photo courtesy of Evan Wright

Combat can be fun. As distasteful as that is, it’s also true. Surviving a battle without a scratch is exciting, profound, and invigorating, but what often follows is the sinking realization that you may never feel that alive again.

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