If you’re a soap opera lover, then you’ll have no problem recognizing the name J.R. Martinez –or better yet, Brot Monroe — who plays an injured Iraq war veteran on the hit daytime drama, All My Children.
Although he now portrays an injured vet on TV, the scars and injuries he lives with are the result of a traumatic real life event while serving in the U.S. army oversees in Iraq. In honor of Veterans Day, Martinez wrote his first ever blog post detailing his close call with death while in combat.
Read passages of his inspirational story as he salutes his fellow veterans.
The actor shared his graphic story on Global Grind of his time-serving in the army in Iraq where he sustained burns over 40% of his body when his Humvee drove over a landmine. Here are some passages from his first ever blog post.
Growing up Martinez never thought of going into the military, but when his plans to become a pro football player fell through and he didn’t have the grades to go to college, he enlisted in the army.
That’s when I turned to the military for direction and a way to get something I felt I couldn’t get anywhere else. I wanted to travel the world, gain experiences that would make me form into a man, go to college and have it paid for, and be able to give back to this country that was under attack in 2001.
After joining in September 2002 and spending a few short months doing basic training, I found myself flying to the Middle East. Everything happened so fast that I never got the time to reflect on the fact I was going to war as a 19-year-old. My early days in Iraq were filled with sleepless nights and long hours. They say everything happens for a reason, so I guess me sleeping in class in high school was preparing me for the lack of sleep I would get in Iraq. Who knew it?!
On the 5th of April 2003, my life changed…FOR THE BETTER. I was driving a humvee with three other soldiers in the vehicle when my front left tire ran over a landmine. The three other soldiers with me were thrown out of the vehicle, but I was trapped inside the burning humvee for about 5 minutes, completely conscious, feeling my body being burned, and seeing it change drastically. I fought to stay alive, just long enough to give the medics enough time to save my life. I truly thought my life was ending at that moment.
I was evacuated and ended up in San Antonio where “THE REAL WAR WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN.” I sustained 40% burns throughout my body and other physical injuries. Although the other three soldiers didn’t sustain major physical injuries, I have now come to learn – 7 ½ years later – that it mentally affected them. Scars go beyond what the physical eye can catch and deep into the veins as it runs simultaneously with your blood. It filters through the body and even into the brain, as it affects how our men and women integrate back into a quote-unquote “normal life.”
After retiring from the military, Martinez took time to travel with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes as an inspirational speaker to share his story with others. He asks for everyone to take the time to know veterans stories and show your appreciation to them for putting their life on the line.
Get involved on this day and throughout the year, even if it’s saying “Thank You” (two simple words that mean more to a service member than you know), buying a meal, or supporting the non-profit of your choice. Veteran’s Day is not only November 11 but 365 days a year.
God Bless our veterans, their efforts, their families, and God Bless our nation for having such brave individuals.
You can read his full story at Global Grind, plus see pictures of the actor before and after his injuries sustained in duty.