(Please welcome author Ilona Meagher who is here to discuss her book, Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops — JH)
He was known simply as "the Marlboro Man," the "Face of Fallujah. No one knew his name. Everyone was introduced to the myth. Back home he was simply known as Smokey. He was 20 years old when the photograph was taken. It was the real life version of a recruitment poster. But Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, a member of Charlie Company, 1st Platoon, 8th Marines, was also a flesh and blood man underneath the bravura of the soldier everyone saw and was now worshiping, even wanting to be like. How Miller became the myth is recounted in the first pages of Ilona Meagher's amazing book Moving a Nation to Care. It's not the story George W. Bush and the Republicans pushing escalation want to tell, but it's the reality of war, especially the Iraq war as it is being fought today. The real life recruitment story as seen through the picture that became synonymous with military heroism and self sacrifice long ago crumbled in on itself. "The Marlboro Man," "the Face of Fallujah," the war hero, Smokey, now has PTSD.
Miller has now become the chronicler of another war–the war within. He now appeals to the country that declared him a hero because of a photograph, asking that they look beyond the image and see the human cost of war. "I want people to understand what PTSD is and what it can do to you–what it can to do your life."
Moving a Nation to Care, by Ilona Meagher (p.10)