No one in the mainstream media has done a better job of portraying the valor of our military and the challenges they face during and after their service than Garry Trudeau. His Doonesbury comic strips, especially those about the wounded veteran Toggle, show tremendous dedication and understanding. B.D., a football player who served in Vietnam, appeared in the very first strip, 40 years ago. He returned to combat in Iraq and was injured there. A one-dimensional character almost never seen without his football helmet became a fully-realized and sympathetic figure who had to find a way to deal with his feelings about the loss of his leg when his daughter was frightened by his withholding and anger. In a thoughtful interview in the current Rolling Stone, Trudeau talks about that story.
I literally blasted B.D. out of his life of settled complacency. Exposed to sudden, brutal loss, B.D. became vulnerable in a way that was unfamiliar and frightening to him. He had to change to survive, to rebuild his resilience and create a new normal for himself.
A Washington Post article by Gene Weingarten provides a rare glimpse into the visits the famously private Garry Trudeau makes to veterans hospitals and his other contacts with the people who serve in the military. Trudeau also established the Sandbox blog for military and their families to share their experiences.
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