Sgt. Stacy Pearsall talks about returning to a regular life after war.

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If there's one thing Stacy wants people to know about women in war, it's that there is no longer a clear front line. "Not in this war. Not in Iraq. Not in Afghanistan. And since those lines are blurred, women are out there doing the same jobs as men. And whether we like to admit it or not, women are on the front lines and we are doing the job," Stacy says. "And it would be great if we could just accept it and accept that women should be able to do whatever they want, whether it's be a housewife or being a combat photographer."

Although her job isn't to fight in combat, Stacy says she's been forever changed by what she's seen through her lens. "I'm still dealing with the issues of the possibility of having taken somebody's life or seeing other lives taken," she says. "It changes you, and you become somebody else when you're there. It's a defense mechanism."

Returning to regular life hasn't been easy, Stacy says. Even though her husband is also in the military, she finds it difficult to share her experiences with him. "It's still hard to articulate the things that you've been through, especially things that are so complicated," she says. "There's so many things he doesn't know that happened out there yet that I'm still working through to be able to share with him."

Stacy says no one who goes into battle comes back the same and urges the families of returning soldiers to be patient. "Like myself, I'm sure it's the same for other soldiers, just to have that support and that guidance and maybe a step in the right direction, whether it's counseling or just, 'Hey, whenever you want to talk, I'm here,'" she says.
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FROM: Oprah on Location at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Published on February 26, 2009

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