On March 29, 2004, Colorado native Jason Murray says he began his day with another routine bomb sweep down a street in Iraq nicknamed "IED Alley" by his Marine unit.
As the bomb less than three feet in front of him exploded, Murray realized his day had become anything but routine.
"I had shrapnel in my right eye and other various parts of my body, shattered my left retina causing me to be totally blind, had eight teeth blown out, to name a few things," the 28-year-old says.
"That was my bad day at the office."
Surgeries, rehabilitation, addiction to painkillers and depression filled the next few years, but Murray says his story was just getting started. The support of his family and inspirational stories of other veterans encouraged him to recover.
Now, Murray spends his days taking care of his wife and two boys, working on a bachelor's in biblical studies.
He is also one of seven local veterans whose stories will be shared this Veterans Day weekend through The Wisdom Within These Walls: Wisdom in Uniform. Four readers will share the stories of local war heroes during three showings.
"He's lived a lifetime already and he's only in his 20s," says Anne McGhee, the show's executive producer, of Murray.
The performance is part of the Front Range Theatre Company program Wisdom Within These Walls, which is intended to shed light on the untold stories of various groups in local communities, McGhee says. The program began last year with stories of local seniors; similar shows featuring people with disabilities and immigrants are being considered for next year, she says. McGhee hopes Wisdom in Uniform will become an annual celebration.
"There is so much we can learn from the experiences of these ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances."