Sunday, July 4, 2010

To you…all of you!

This is a repost…but one that I wanted to make….on Veteran’s Day…this is to you..all of you!

I remember my days of long skirts, bandanas, smoking cigarettes like I was a bad@$$ & my fascination with everything "Hippie", but today I remember vividly the first time I came face to face with them. It started with a phone call to Brad about meeting up for lunch, and it ended with most likely one of the most life changing events in my life.

{ I fell in love with Brad the day I met him, but I remember being very afraid when I realized he wanted to be in the Air Force and serve his country as a doctor. I was afraid, but because our love was so strong I never hesitated & knew I could make it through anything. My family would be in the military...seriously I way-I never would have imagined it. I didn't have anything against the military, but I will be honest and say that I really had no idea... being "military" isn't at all what I thought. I've always supported our troops even in times I haven't necessarily supported the wars they were fighting, but for some reason I had some negative association with our military. To me they were all these big war hungry gung ho guys with weird haircuts walking around with guns and saying 1,2,3,4...boy was I wrong. }

Back to my day----Brad and I were meeting up for lunch at BAMC(Brooke Army Medical Center) which is the army hospital. Meeting Brad for lunch is a common thing. I walked into the cafeteria and grabbed my tray as I normally would, then I preceded to gather my lunch and find a seat. I walked all through the cafeteria deciding on what I'd eat, then paying, then grabbing my drink & utensils, then finding my seat and then this is the part I'll never forget. I started to sit down, and then I looked around. I became completely numb...I knew the true meaning of weak in the knees at this point...I know I was staring. My eyes scanned the entire room as I took in each of their faces…most distorted from burns, missing ears...noses...limbs. Some had no limbs left, and those that did had been burned badly or were full of pins and stints. Almost all of them were in wheel chairs. I remember one guy...he was probably 18 or 19 years old, and he had a rectangular skin graft across his neck. I don't know how long I stood there, but it felt like forever. I felt a knot in my throat, and then my eyes started to fill with tears. I kept telling myself I couldn't cry here in front of all these people. I sat down, and Brad said, "I was waiting for you to notice." I couldn't speak...I had absolutely nothing to say. Here I was completely helpless and falling apart, but they were all going about their day. After all they were here to eat lunch. Some had family members with them visiting, sitting, eating and laughing. They had gone to war, and now they were back and conquering another battle. Most would have to learn to walk again, how to eat with their left hands, and find themselves fighting through battle after battle for the rest of their lives. I was speechless and my heart broken.

I left the cafeteria that day changed. I now had the upmost respect for our troops that I ever would. I had come face to face with their sacrifice. I will never forget them or all of those who are still serving our country. I want to thank every single troop and all of those who support them for serving our country…Thank You & May God Bless You!!!!!

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