Category ►►► Everyday Heroes
December 7, 2005
Another Day, Another Life
During my daily surf of MilBlogs, I stumbled onto this one: 365 and a Wakeup. 365 and a Wakeup is one of the finalists in the 2005 Weblog Award's Best Military Blog category. When you read a post like this one, you can easily see why. (I'm working my way through all the MilBlog nominees so I can vote intelligently.)
Thunder6, "Deputy Commander of A Co, 1-184 IN, 3ID in Southern Baghdad," describes a recent encounter with a young mother and her disabled son.
During our last patrol through the shantytowns a young mother waited patiently outside the bustling throng of children hopping back and forth between our vehicles. I don’t remember seeing her arrive, she just suddenly appeared on the outskirts of the roiling flock of children. In that sea of motion she stood as still and resolute as a obsidian tower, her black burkha providing a mute contrast to the gaudy kaleidoscope of children’s clothing. She was clutching a toddler tightly to her chest, and I reflexively assumed she was trying to secure some candy for her child.
It turn out she wasn't there for candy. Her son was feeble and couldn't stand, let alone walk. She was desperately hoping that the Americans could somehow cure him.
Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do medically to help. The child suffered from a congenital birth defect that left him frail and sickly. “Sir, we couldn’t help him even if we were in the States," said the company medic. But the sight of the poor little boy gnawed at Thunder6.
The memory of that wisp of a boy stayed with me, and after a few days I asked SSG Spite if he could think of anything we might be able to do for the family. SSG Spite said that he would see what he could do and then disappeared for the rest of the day. The following day I knocked on SSG Spite’s door and when I walked in I almost dropped my coffee mug in shock. There sat SSG Spite quietly cleaning his weapon… sitting in a wheelchair. SSG Spite seemed to sense my agitation without even turning around and after a pregnant pause he said “Don’t worry sir, I’m fine. The wheelchair is for the kid”. Then he turned around, gave me a sly grin and said “But I had you worried, didn’t I?”. We laughed for a few minutes and then SSG Spite said “If I didn’t feel sorry for the kid I’d keep the wheelchair – this is the best seat in the barracks”.
What kind of "occupiers" would stop and think to help a helpless child? The American kind, that's what.
The next time A-Company patrolled in the area where the woman and her son lived, they brought the wheelchair with them. After struggling their way through mobs of Iraqi children, who were ecstatic to receive the little Iraqi flags that they handed out, they knocked at the door of the woman. They brought her and her son out to their Humvees.
When we arrived SGT Bard opened one of the doors and pulled and tugged until the wheelchair slid through the armored door. I wish I could describe the womans face when we gently picked up her son and placed him in the wheelchair - but there are some emotions words cannot hope to touch.
The Howard Deans, John Kerrys, and Jeff Engelhardts of the world can call our guys and girls any despicable, schoolyard name they want and smear them from now until next November; they can call on us to cut and run and say the world would be better off if Saddam were still in power in Iraq. But the fact of the matter is that guys like Thunder6 are the norm, not the exception; and he and his men are making a world of difference over there. One child, one life at a time.
What's John Kerry done lately?
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