The Story of a Generation

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B.D.: From the start, B.D. was a hard case, a football diva smoldering with contempt for his undisciplined supporting players. Post-gridiron, things didn’t improve. When a warrior retires from the field, he usually hangs up his helmet; B.D. kept his in place. As a pro football player, a cop, and then a soldier, he clung to a protective shell that shielded him from doubt or insight—one that, over the years, kept him firmly resistant to an evolving world of personal growth and male hugs. When a rocket attack in Fallujah removed B.D.’s leg, it was the loss of his helmet—which revealed not just his graying hair, but a battered soul—that moved readers the most.

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February 7, 1971

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April 30, 1991

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April 26, 2004

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Garry Trudeau created the Doonesbury strip in 1970. He’s the author of the forthcoming book 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, from which this article has been adapted.

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