Sorry I did not post yesterday. It was a rough day and by the time I left work, I just had to decompress. Much of it I can not tell you, as OPSEC is concerned. But I will tell you some things, although I know I won’t do these young military men and woman justice.
We have many young and older men and woman come through LRMC. Some are here for kidney stones, some to receive glasses or hearing aids; others are here for back, leg, arm or head injuries. Some injuries are caused by them just being kids and being dumb and others are war related.
Some wish to talk and others just want their stuff and to go. I find both very interesting and each truly walks away with a piece of my heart. One young man took a big chunk yesterday. As I listened to him tell his story I could not help but think he was speaking as someone twice his age. He had some delay in his answers at times but I knew it was due to some TBI. As he spoke to the ambassador who stood in front of us drilling him with questions, I couldn’t help it, but I felt such great pride as if he was my own son. I found myself listening to his story of a horrible attack; but I found myself bowing my head and smiling because he was doing it with such honor, dignity but also meekness. As I looked at this kid, I was trying to figure out how old he was just about the time the ambassador asked him his age. He was the grand ole age of 19. I almost dropped to my knees. My heart ached as he continued to talk about a battle buddy that was killed. I wanted to give him the largest hug ever. This young man had been sitting the entire time he spoke with the ambassador until he was introduced to the ambassador’s wife. Then he showed her respect and he stood, as painful as it might have been for him.
When everyone had left the WWMC, I met the second kid that was in this week from the same attack. He spoke as well as the first. The pride this kid had in his military and the thought that went behind him joining and staying in the military was just so amazing that I just could not grasp it coming from someone his age. He talked about his bedroom wall turning into a bright ball of yellow as it exploded. That he got up to see what aid he could provide to others as he was himself throwing up. I had to ask right away how old he was. He was the grandpa at the ripe age of 21. I have met the Secretary of the Army while working here, I have met ambassadors and so many congressmen that I can not remember them all. But those that stick in my mind and heart the most are the military members. Go to your local VA hospital and volunteer and you will see what I mean. Our military members young and old, this war or past wars will amaze you.
As I was driving home last night I thought about the groups that have protested at our military members funerals. I thought about those that have fought against military pay increases. I thought about those that have fought against increasing VA benefits or the building of new VA hospitals. As I continued to drive with tears in my eyes, I thought about these 2 young men, who both wanted to continue to serve in the military. How and why would we not give them the pay they deserve? How can we not provide them with the VA benefits that so many of them deserve? How can we not force our states to enact laws to protect their families during their funerals? The pain in my chest grew as I knew that neither of these kids would ever really understand the gratitude, admiration or appreciation that I had for them. That I hope the nation as a whole will have for them one day.
Both of these young men will each have a long journey in front of them as they recover. I hope that they can feel a little piece of my heart inside of them and feel the love that I shared with them yesterday.
I worked 10 hours today thanks to the support of the Lorton American Legion of Lorton, VA.
PS I will post about Friday later this weekend. I thank you for your understanding in the lack of a posting last night.