Thursday, March 13, 2008

Honoring our wounded...in our own way 
Very moving story from the Wall Street Journal.

Cpl. Kenny Lyon's mother pushed his wheelchair down a narrow Pentagon hallway, crying as she listened to the applause.

Hundreds of Defense Department employees lined the corridor, cheering for Cpl. Lyon and the other wounded military personnel who walked or rolled past. Some of them patted Cpl. Lyon on the shoulder, while others shook his hand or leaned in to hug his mother, Gigi Windsor.

"I was really humbled by it because I didn't do anything special," says Cpl. Lyon, a 22-year-old Marine who lost a leg in a mortar attack near Fallujah. "I went to Iraq to do a job, and I got injured and actually couldn't do it. So why was I getting honored?"

Cpl. Lyon was taking part in a little-known event called the Wounded Warrior March, which brings military personnel who suffer serious injuries in Iraq or Afghanistan to the Pentagon for a parade unlike any other.

The events, held roughly every six weeks, are notable for their simplicity. No speeches are given, no dignitaries march alongside the veterans and cameras are banned. The parades are closed to the public, except for friends and relatives of the injured soldiers and Marines taking part. Military officials don't tout the program to the press.

Thank you, brothers and sisters. I can't thank you enough.

The press and the usual dignitaries ought to reflect on why it is the military family doesn't think they should be invited.

If they're listening.

Splash, out



Corporal Lyon, I'll answer your question: It's because you were even there, willing to do the job in the first place.

You were willing to put your ass on the line to do a tough job that has to be done in order to protect your fellow citizens from the enemies many of them don't even recognize. You remember that every time one of those citizens offers to buy you a beer in the airport bar or says, "Thank you for your service" in the Wal-mart checkout line.

It's because you are a hero merely because you stood up to be counted.

Thank you for it!!

Hey, there.

When I was a Captain, I used to go to these (& occasionally met my Army buddies' troops if they asked me to).

It really is a cool deal, with applauding DoD personnel the length from the exterior to interior of the Pentagon, and then along one side of the interior of the courtyard. Many of the wives & mothers accompanying the patients cry. Some of the patients hobble their way the *entire* way to shake hands with each person and look each in the eye. It's very moving to be on either side of the event.

As for why the media doesn't come, though, it's because the *Army* is running the damn thing. Sure, it's serendipitous, but it most definitely isn't a slight. I worked AF war planning, and we had more than a few Airmen come through without the Army telling us jack. You see, the Army was only publicizing internally for a while. The rest of the building was pleased when finally given the chance to be involved.

Oh, and when Rummy was in the building, he'd meet them all at the door, even if it meant waiting for 40 minutes while the vans were inevitably delayed coming through DC traffic & the patients' own discomfort.
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