By Mark W. Danielson
I recently underwent hand surgery to repair a trauma injury. The surgery went fine, the pain was manageable, but the lessons learned will always stay with me.
Being right-handed, losing use of this hand posed many challenges, and throughout each of them I kept thinking about our wounded warriors. Of course my situation was temporary, but for them, getting by with missing limbs became their new reality. Throughout my experience, the simplest tasks such as showering, combing hair, flossing and brushing teeth, buttoning pants and shirts, slipping on coats and shoes were extremely challenging, especially since I had a club hand. Surprisingly, putting socks on was one of the most frustrating events. Wearing boots eliminated any troubling shoe laces.
My wife constantly offered her assistance, but each time I thanked her and reminded her that this was a great lesson in humility. It was important for me to bear with my struggles to get a smidgen of understanding about how difficult it must be for these young kids and their families when they return home mangled from a futile war. Yes, our wounded warriors are the forgotten ones. They don’t get counted in death tolls, and wait months or years to get benefits while our government throws money at foreign countries and illegal immigrants. No doubt some will say these soldiers knew the risks when they signed up. I say they deserve far more respect and financial aid than we give them.
I have had the privilege to hear some of these wounded warriors speak and am always impressed by their dignity and pride. They do not whimper publicly or place blame. Instead, they speak of being lucky to have made it back alive. Most take accept their condition and take on new challenges. Some even learn to fly specially modified airplanes to free them from their bonds. Don’t feel sorry for them. Embrace them and learn.
I salute these veterans and wish them my best. Each and every one of them faces tough battles ahead. Please remember them, and consider donating to the Wounded Warriors, USO, Homes for Heroes, or other worthy veterans organizations before they are forgotten.
Wounded Warriors Project: https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/Default.aspx?tsid=675&campaignSource=CDRO&source=BS14039
Homes for Heroes: