A combat engineer with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, observes the horizon at the start of a nine-hour night patrol in Southern Shorsurak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, as part of Operation New Dawn, June 27, 2008

COVID-19 and the loneliness of American heroism

"I now stand in the shoes of those who tried to thank me when I came home. I profusely thank the checkout clerk, the pharmacy technician, the nurses and doctors I know. But in my heart, I wonder if each time I try to express my gratitude, I’m only creating a moment for them to remember that while I am relatively safe from harm, and they are risking their lives and livelihoods, so that I can have a bowl of cereal in the morning"