At Fort Hood, I had the privilege of watching several soldiers receive their purple heart awards. I was there to receive an award for my service to the Family Readiness Group and did not even realize that I would also be witnessing such a testament to bravery and sacrifice.
I watched as each wounded warrior stepped forward with such dignity and as much military bearing as they could muster with their injuries. Several of the less catastrophically injured were heading back to Iraq, despite having the option to remain home for the rest of the deployment. They just could not rest easy until all of their comrades were home, safe.
I thought of my husband and the husbands of my friends, going out on daily missions, escorting convoys throughout the Baghdad area. I put myself in the boots of these soldiers and the shoes of their families–grateful that their lives were spared but also overwhelmed by all the details required for adapting to life with a severe injury. I was so incredibly grateful for their sacrifice and in awe of their strength.
The soldiers I know often say that aiming to be a hero gets people killed. These purple heart recipients were not trying to be heroes. They were doing their duty. Their duty, however, was 1000% beyond what most ordinary people are called upon to do. When it counted, these soldiers kept their calm, made good decisions, and even saved the lives of their fellow soldiers. No, these soldiers were not trying to be heroes. They just simply were heroes.
After watching them, I felt embarrassed getting up to receive my award. How could my work be mentioned in the same ceremony as their sacrifice? The applause from the heroes was so touching. When the soldiers came over at the end to thank us–these heroes were actually expressing gratitude for our small contributions!–I nearly lost it. The only way I kept the tears from spilling as I told them how grateful and proud of them we all were was to remember that these soldiers wanted to see a strong home front united behind them.
I am partnering with Brawny® to spread the word about how you can help these Wounded Warriors. Brawny is making a direct donation of $250,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® to benefit Wounded Warriors and their families. From May 1 through December 31, 2012, the maker of Brawny® paper towels will also donate $1 up to an additional $250,000 for every individual who joins us and shares their thanks for our nation’s heroes on the Brawny® Towels Facebook page (www.facebook.com/brawnytowels). They are almost at their goal of $500,000. Will you help them reach it?
This post was sponsored by Brawny® Towels. All opinions are my own.
Image credit: Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Navy 1st Class Petty Officer Mollly A. Burgess