In a special series Al Jazeera meets those who have survived some of the world's most savage or forgotten conflicts - whether conscripts, civilians or professionals, all have felt the shock of war and have been forced or chosen to fight to defend their country, their families or even a an idea they do not fully comprehend.
While some veterans reintegrate into normal life with great ease and success, others have been unable to overcome the legacy of the conflict and say they have been abandoned by the countries they once served.
Al Jazeera talks to those who survived and the families of those who did not.
France's bloody eight-year war in Algeria left millions of people dead and ultimately ended in failure for the European power when the African nation declared independence in 1962.
The war left deep psychological scars in both countries and has affected relations between the two countries to this day.
For many of the one and half million French veterans the conflict is know known as "la guerre the sans nom" (the war without name) and still evokes complex emotions more than 40 years on with some feeling shame and regret, others bitterness and anger.
The Falkands war is a conflict many people in Argentina would like to forget but one that most cannot. Although the war in 1982 lasted just 74 days the effects have lasted a last time for the country's veterans.
A total of 649 Argentinians died in the conflict and for those who survived they became synonymous with a humiliating defeat and an unpopular military junta that collapsed soon after. At least another 350 veterans have committed suicide in the 25 years since the war.
Few conflicts are imprinted in the public conscience as much as the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
In one of Africa's bloodiest ever atrocities it is estimated as many as a million people from the country's Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus people could have been killed in a period of only about 100 days.
Although now at peace Rwanda still has many wounds to heal and the reconciliation process has been painful for many veterans of the country's often forgotten longer civil war.Read more: Living with genocide
The Bosnian capital Sarajevo is a tranquil and picturesque place. However its name will forever be associated with bloodshed after the city was subjected to one of the longest sieges in modern history in 1992.
For 44 consecutive months, its citizens were forced to take up arms to defend themselves from attack by Serb forces - forces whose violent actions against Bosnian Muslims across the country gave rise to the term "ethnic cleansing".
The destructive effects of war endure for many veterans and Al Jazeera met both Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims who fought to defend Sarajevo including a volleyball team who have put physical injuries aside to turn misfortune into triumph.Read more: Sarajevo's siege mentality
More than 600,000 troops participated in the Soviet Union's decade-long war in Afghanistan, the USSR's largest military operation since the second world war.
Yet for many in modern Russia, and in other former Soviet countries, the conflict is one they would rather forget and is regarded with humiliation.
Al Jazeera found many of those who returned alive and are still disappointed by the lack of support they received and still bear the psychological scars from a conflict sometimes rferred to as the USSR's "Vietnam".Read more: Remembering the Soviet 'Vietnam'
Veterans, The French in Algeria, can be seen from Monday August 24 at the following times GMT: Monday 0530 and 1130; Tuesday 0130, 1400 and 2330; Wednesday 0630 and 1630; Saturday 1930; Sunday 1030.
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