In June 2008, Marine Cpl. Anthony Villarreal was driving back from a mission in Afghanistan when his truck was hit by a roadside bomb. He was 22 at the time and recently married to Jessica, who was just 21.
Villarreal suffered third-degree burns over most of his face and body and was very severely disfigured. His right arm and the fingers on his left hand eventually had to be amputated.
Ten days after a court verdict found a man guilty of sexual assault, two of his victims — his 14- and 15-year-old nieces — stepped into a StoryCorps booth.
"He was a police officer," the older sister said. "This big SWAT man with all the badges and the uniforms, and he couldn't keep his hands to himself. He sexually assaulted me when no one was around. I felt like I was on pause my whole childhood. A prisoner — dead. And I didn't say a word to anybody for seven years."
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Katie Simon with Jud Esty-Kendall.
Since childhood, Rami Aizic knew he "needed and wanted to be a dad." He assumed he would one day meet the girl of his dreams and it would all just happen.
Then he realized he was gay.
Robin Share also wanted kids, but had no partner. So when a mutual friend told Rami about Robin, he called her up and left a message: "Hi, Robin. I'm a friend of Scott's and he said you might be interested in having a baby with me. So give me a call back."
When we first met Danny and Annie Perasa in 2004, we heard about how their first date unfolded into an on-the-spot marriage proposal. We got a sense of Danny's big personality and his deep love for his wife. And we heard about his daily love notes to her.
To my princess, the weather out today is extremely rainy, I'll call you at 11:20 in the morning. And I love you, I love you, I love you.
When we first heard from Laura Greenberg and her daughter, Rebecca, in 2011, Laura recounted what it was like to grow up in a family that was, as she explained it, "not normal."
"We're yelling, and we're pinching, and we're hugging, and we're cursing, and we peed with the door open," she said about her childhood in Queens, N.Y., in the 1950s. "I didn't know this was not normal behavior. I didn't know people had secrets; you didn't tell your mother everything."