Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Thank You to Those Who Care for Our Nation's Wounded

Though bowed,
You are not broken.
Though stretched,
You're strong, my friend.
You are resilient like a willow --
You'll find your spring again.
Though your branches
Now weigh heavy,
Your roots go deep and true.
This is just a change of season --
God has better plans for you.

-- Sharon Hudnell

Back in May, as has been the case since 1984 on each Friday before Mother's Day, we celebrated what's known as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Spouse Buzz, a place where military spouses can connect with one another, hosted guest blogger Lieutenant General William Caldwell, Commanding General, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Ft. Leavenworth.

This is what he wrote at the time:

We’ve watched you nurse your wounded warriors back to health in military hospitals. You’re there, still full of hope, when Troopers with head injuries don’t recognize their family. You encourage them. You decorate their rooms. You read their favorite books to them. You are the first to notice when they can squeeze your hand again for the first time.

The spouse on the home front pays the bills, fixes the car, gets the kids to soccer practice, helps with the homework and building the kids pinewood derby car... you are our true heroes. You have unique experiences that only other military spouses can comprehend. ...

All military spouses know why their loved ones serve, and they share in their hardship and sacrifice and ask for little in return. It is humbling to those of us who wear the uniform to know that our best friends, our spouses, are serving along side us. Those of us in uniform serve because we love our Nation; our spouses do it for love of us. Our service men and women could not continue in this profession without your help, and for that we are eternally grateful…and so is our Nation.

In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.
I bring this to our attention today because of the following video (h/t to VAWatchdog.org for preserving these segments for us) of a CBS Evening News report, which aired last Thursday:

This clip is a true tribute to all of our military spouses, those who day-in-and-day-out take care of their returning warriors -- beaten and bruised in battle -- in the most graceful, resilient manner they know how. What heroes these military family members are.

Let's keep them close in our minds and even closer still in our hearts every day. They are serving our nation...quietly, humbly and with the greatest gift around: their love.

From CBS News:

Nancy Kules couldn't have imagined getting help from her husband two and a half years ago. An IED struck Ryan's humvee in Iraq, blowing away his right arm and left leg. He lay in a coma on life support.

"I'm 23 years old, we're married for a couple of years, all of a sudden now I'm what, I don't have a husband anymore, I've got a dependent? You know, that's a really scary thought," Nancy says.

And so she began a journey into the unknown, like the caregivers for the nearly 33,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace.

"You realize that there's those people that never come past opening their eyes, gesturing they're thirsty," she says. "I was scared. I was really scared."

"You hear Nancy talk about how scary that was for her, what's that like when you hear that?" Wallace asks Nancy's husband Ryan. "You know, what if the roles were reversed and it was Nancy who was hurt and I don't know if I could do it," Ryan says.

Nancy and Ryan came to a camp sponsored by the Adaptive Sports Foundation -- a place where the veteran and the caregiver get the support they need.

"If you can meet another spouse that can just say, 'Yeah, he's done that,' or, 'Yeah, he's like that sometimes,' or 'Don't you hate it when …' then it makes you feel less, you know, you're not alone," Nancy says. ...

"You're the one that gets yelled at first. You're the one that gets snapped at when you go over a bump too hard in a wheelchair," she says. "I didn't put a bump in the sidewalk. You can't make life smooth, obviously."

Still, Nancy knows it could be worse.

"There's people that'll never ever meet their kids," she says. "I just can't imagine what their wives and their parents and loved ones are going through."

To honor those less fortunate, they named their new daughter Jillian Deme -- her initials are a tribute to the two men who died in Ryan's humvee.

"What better way to celebrate than a beautiful little girl," Nancy says. "She represents life and happiness and great things."

Read the rest.

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