For those who have never enlisted in the army and been deployed, trying to understand life from the perspective of a soldier is impossible.
While our eyes show us how war can damage soldiers' bodies, the psychological toll it takes isn't always visible -- and definitely isn't easy to talk about. With that in mind, photographer David Jay set out to capture the powerful set of photos below.
In the series he calls "The Unknown Soldier," Jay depicts the sacrifices men and women have made fighting in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, putting us face-to-face with harsh realities we aren't necessarily comfortable with.
In 2013, Jay visited wounded soldiers around the U.S., documenting what life was like for them after being severely injured.
While he certainly captured their incredible strength and ability to survive...
...he also shed light on the heartbreaking struggles they face coping with everyday life.
His images also illuminate the impact war has on their families.
"The public is accustomed to seeing former soldiers on TV, running the marathon or swimming in the Paralympics. These cases are true but a bit distorting—a majority of our wounded soldiers are not seen by the public. They are struggling just to get by," Jay said.
About what he aims to do with the series, Jay said, "I hope the images transcend the narrow and simplistic confines of 'war' and encourage us to examine the way we engage each other—both friend and stranger—at its most basic, day-to-day level, as it is these subtle, seemingly innocuous interactions that will ultimately lead us either to peace…or to the continuum and carnage of war."
To all the men and women out there who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, thank you for your service and incredible bravery.