By Boot Girl Myra
Remember that quirky animal in the movie Dr. Doolittle? Essentially, it was a llama with a head at each end. Sometimes it pulled the beast forward, at other times jolting it backward unwilling to move ahead, forcing it to remain in the memories of the past. Whatever it did it was in constant conflict with itself.
I would imagine that is a good description of the emotional, mental and physical conflict for those who have seen combat upon returning home. It’s the battle of trying to get past what trauma and turmoil is behind them and pushing forward to a new normal. There is a constant pull of reliving those moments; calculating to the Nth degree what they could have done different to change the outcome for the better.
My view on heroism these days is not so much the battle that these honored men and women fight for my freedom, although honorable no doubt. It’s about their lives when they come home. Military training is all about gearing you up for the worst in battle. Preparing to “bring it” with an enemy in hot pursuit of your shirt tails. All your training is for the purpose of getting the upper hand, and vanquishing those who would perpetrate attempts to bring this great nation down. But what about the 19 year old injured in the line of duty the first week in a combat zone? His life is changed forever. And there begins his heroic journey, to tame the inner “push me, pull you”. Sleepless nights of being pulled back can take its toll on any one of our heroes, including their families. The motivation to move toward an uncertain future can be more daunting than thoughts of the past. He’s not trained for this part of life, it’s not his area of expertise.
It was this week in 2005 that Operation Red Wings went down in the Mountains of Afghanistan. And if you haven’t read the story Lone Survivor do yourself a favor and garner some new appreciation for Independence Day by reading it. In the six years since that traumatic event, people like Marcus Luttrell and Char Fontan Westfall have clearly defined heroism to me. Marcus, as the title of the book suggests, is the Lone Survivor of an operation involving a total of 20 men. Char’s husband Jacques was killed in the rescue attempt to save Marcus and his team mates. Her commitment to the Boot Campaign is nothing short of a miracle.
I’m sure many families associated with ORW will be very reflective this week, being pulled back into the past, but I’m praying and hoping their inner Push Me Pull U will do more pushing ahead. Sometimes it takes looking back to help remind us of how critical it is to move ahead. If we forget our past, we most assuredly will have a tragic future but it’s for the purpose of having the guts to move forward.
This week I choose to look back into a rich American history, full of successes and failures, to remember those whose lives were donated for our freedom. At the same time I look forward to another year of watching people like Marcus realize his dream of creating a premiere treatment facility for returning wounded military, so that our military can push forward to an amazing future just like yours and mine.