Strong spirits

Yesterday, at a party for the woman who took care of our children when they were young, I met an elderly, retired gentleman who serves as a volunteer at Walter Reed Army Hospital. His role is to talk with, and run errands for, the wounded soldiers who have returned from Iraq. This man is a veteran himself, and has traveled the world. As a 78 year-old African-American, I doubt there’s much he hasn’t seen. Yet he was in awe of the young soldiers, many of whom have suffered debilitating injuries. He told me he has never encountered so many “strong spirits.” These men (some of whom could be called boys if only age were considered) are totally focused on their futures, which they see as bright. One man, whose leg was amputated, recently completed the New York marathon. Those whose injuries will permit it are eager to return to Iraq. The others say they wish they could. They regard their comrades who are carrying on the fight as family.
I have seen other reports to this effect, but one never knows how much confidence to place in them. But hearing my new friend, who has no apparent ideological agenda, recount the words of the soldiers he has come to know, and hearing the emotion in his voice as he did so, made me feel certain that what I’ve been reading is true. Our country is truly blessed to be served by these men.


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