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Linearly polarized solitary waves, arising from the interaction of an intense laser pulse with a plasma, are investigated. Localized structures, in the form of exact numerical nonlinear solutions of the one-dimensional Maxwell-fluid model for a cold plasma with fixed ions, are presented. Unlike stationary circularly polarized solitary waves, the linear polarization gives rise to a breather-type behavior and a periodic exchange of electromagnetic energy and electron kinetic energy at twice the frequency of the wave. A numerical method based on a finite-differences scheme allows us to compute a branch of solutions within the frequency range Omega(min) < Omega < omega(pe), where omega(pe) and Omega(min) are the electron plasma frequency and the frequency value for which the plasma density vanishes locally, respectively. A detailed description of the spatiotemporal structure of the waves and their main properties as a function of Omega is presented. Small-amplitude oscillations appearing in the tail of the solitary waves, a consequence of the linear polarization and harmonic excitation, are explained with the aid of the Akhiezer-Polovin system. Direct numerical simulations of the Maxwell-fluid model show that these solitary waves propagate without change for a long time.