Category Archives: Veterans

“Why Me” (A Thanksgiving Reminder)”

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Why me?”, then a voice answers “Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.”
Charlie Brown

We all get overwhelmed. We go to places that make us wonder what we’ve done to bring such challenges to our lives and question how in the world we’re supposed to cope when so many things are going wrong. The voice that tells you “Nothing personal…” is only slightly satisfying. I really believe you, and me, and everyone else; we need to look at the things in our lives that ARE working and that are, in fact, going better than we could ever have hoped for. When those things come to mind, we need to be just as diligent and ask:

“Why Me?”

When we are facing a challenge and friends rush to our sides to assist us:

“Why Me?”

When we suffer a serious accident, and somehow survive:

“Why Me?”

When we have a child who is struggling with school, and we have teachers who join with us to assist in moving them to success:

“Why Me?”

If we focus solely on the things that are challenges, we just don’t realize how each day brings positives we will miss when our head is down and shaking in dismay. We miss our opportunities to be thankful for today. I am not a Pollyanna, I have suffered many hardships in my life. As I’ve grown through them I’ve come to realize they were a gift that brought focus to the good times in my life. They provided clarity to my thoughts about “the routine” and sharp edges to what is really hard and what is just nonsense. They’ve helped me put into perspective how fleeting time really is.

Now when my sons, rush off the bus, jackets flying and backpacks bumping up and down; when they rush up the driveway in a full out race, laughing and fussing about cheating and head starts; all the time with their eyes smiling. I’ve come to understand that I am witness to the morning of their lives. That’s when I ask:

“Why Me?”

and that’s when I say thank you for all the moments that have shaped me and brought me to this place.

At Thanksgiving especially – look around at your place in this world and ask

“Why Me?”

It’s sometimes overwhelming when we realize just how lucky we are.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

The Price of Freedom

I was at Walter Reed with my son today. We were at the physical therapy clinic for an elbow injury he’d sustained playing baseball. I recall being at a VA hospital years back and there was a sign. It read:

“The price of freedom is visible here.”

Today that message was so evident. While casualty reports have fallen from the headlines, I looked on as four survivors of war worked to survive; period. I was struck that three of the four service members I saw, who were dealing with traumatic injuries, were women.

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One young girl, perhaps in her 20s, had lost a leg, had a brace on her arm and visible scars on her face. Another walked in with a cane, her hat pulled down low and her service dog beside her. The third I saw walked in and someone helped her put her arms on the table where they were carefully (and almost lovingly) wrapped in warm compresses. The man I saw, had on a helmet type device and was using a video game to track and locate visual targets (I suspect as the result of a brain injury).

The young lady with the dog sat for her therapy near where I was sitting with my son.

She didn’t look up.

She went through the therapy with a soft voice, lowered eyes and her attentive companion watching her every step. At one point the therapist left her for a moment and her dog’s leash became tangled. I jumped up and went to her to help get things right.

She looked slightly up and said “Thank You”.

I wanted so much to hug her to me, rock her, take her injuries to my older body so she could experience the fullness of the health I had as a young officer when I was her age. I couldn’t…but I wanted to. All I could do was say with all sincerity

“Please, don’t feel like you have to thank me.”

The meaning was felt…as she looked up into my eyes for the first time.
Dear Congress:

Don’t talk to me about women in combat. Go to Walter Reed and then say you fear we can’t handle it. Go to Walter Reed and see warriors of both sexes. Go to Walter Reed and sit there all day long and see if you can pontificate about who can and who can’t handle this. Go to Walter Reed.

“The price of freedom is visible there”

and the cost is being paid by everyone who chooses to wear the uniform.

But it’s okay if you can’t get their Sir or Ma’am…we got you.

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret)

U.S. Army