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The Story Behind The Photo

by @ 9:59 am on February 14, 2007. Filed under Iraq

Several times over the past week, I’ve come across blogs that have linked to this emotionally powerful, gut-wrenching photo of a Marine who had been wounded in Iraq and his bride.

The Marine’s name is Tyler Zigel. His bride is Renee Kline. Here’s the story behind the photo:

Five months into his second tour, in December 2004, Ty was part of a patrol convoy in the Anbar province, when a suicide bomber struck.

The area, around al-Qaim, was known as an entry point for foreign fighters coming in from the Syrian border. Ty recalls, however, that by this stage, the patrol had an atmosphere that “was not particularly menacing. They weren’t shooting guns at us any more”. What happened next was the convoy’s worst yet unexpected fear becoming reality.

Out of nowhere, a suicide bomber blew himself up by the truck. Tyler is specific on his memories of the event: “I just remember not seeing and felt like getting hit in the face with a baseball bat. The next thing I remember is just sitting down just yelling in pain,” he had said. The suicide bombing had created a blast that had literally engulfed Tyler in an inferno – an attack that punctured his brain with shrapnel. He was placed on a helicopter, and his clothes were cut from his burnt body.


On October 7, 2006, Ty and Renee were married in their home town of Metamora in Illinois. Despite experiencing the usual wedding nerves, neither had second thoughts. It was an emotional celebration, and a ceremony that marked the end of a miraculous journey, and the beginning of a new one.

Read the whole thing.

2 Responses to “The Story Behind The Photo”

  1. [...] Below the Beltway has a military love story. [...]

  2. Interesting. Much of that mirrors my own experience in Iraq and marriage.

    Sergeant S.W. Foster
    US Army

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