I know that I'm already in the history books and that people are going to remember me as the prisoner of war and the fabricated stories, but you know, to me I was just another soldier over there doing my job.
I had a story tell, a story that needed to be told so that people would know the truth.
I don't come from a rich family - it's not like we lived in a cardboard box, but we didn't have a ton of money.
I don't think any war is worth having our soldiers killed.
The whole idea that the rescue was staged or the soldiers were shooting blanks, that's just obvious stuff. Why would you do that in the middle of a war? It's just crazy.
The truth is always more heroic than the hype.
I remember the first time I put on the Army uniform. I just felt like a totally different person - I felt proud.
Tales of great heroism were being told... at my parents home in Wirt County, West Virginia, it was understaged by media all repeating the story of the little girl Rambo from rural West Virginia who went down fighting. It was not true.
Since coming back from Iraq, there's been so many triumphs and obstacles standing in my way, so whenever I set my mind to something, I definitely just go full blast at it.
I grew up in Palestine, West Virginia, which is mostly a farming community; there aren't a lot of jobs.
When I remember those difficult days, I remember the fear, I remember the strength, I remember that hand of that fellow American soldier, reassuring me that I was going to be okay.
I have repeatedly said, when asked, that if the stories about me helped inspired our troops and rally a nation, then perhaps there was some good.
I woke up and all I could see was Iraqis standing all around me, looking down upon me. I knew at that moment something terrible had happened and I wasn't in the right place.