Subject: From the Marine Moms site...worth the read---
Sent: Saturday, October 02, 2004 10:51 AM
[I've posted this verbatim--no spellchecks or anything--as a tribute to our armed forces. This was sent to me by Theresa, our erstwhile, sometime co-blogger, who is now a Marine Mom; her son Mike is going into a very dangerous area of the Marines. It was posted by another Marine Mom at the above site, as sent to her by a Marine Dad who is a friend of theirs. I only ask everyone to consider this parent's words and also to keep these soldiers and their families in our thoughts, prayers, wishes, whatever, as we do all those in the armed forces...]
The following is a letter from the father of one of our injured Marines. This family is from our area and I know them.....and so do you. We have been praying for them since Ryan was wounded. This is just something I thought you all should see, and I did get permission before sharing it. ~ Martha (via Theresa)
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 16:13:07 +0000
I wanted to give you all an update on Ryan and some observations from my last 5 weeks. Ryan continues to get better day by day. Baby steps is the right connotation I guess. At this time he only has about 1/4 of the shoulder movement that he should, but it gets better each day. He gets a little stronger each day, even though if he keeps down one meal a day he is doing good. He has physical therapy and occupational therapy 5 days a week for about an hour apiece. It leaves him exausted and in serious need of pain medicine, but the progress is showing. He is moving his elbow a little and fighting scar tissue there, but again the progress is showing. He has IV antibiotics 5 times a day to fight the 3 strains of bacteria that he was graciously given by the Iraqi soil after the humvee was blown up. His latest test for these bacteria was negative, but the antbitoics will continue for 3 more weeks to make sure that none of it is hiding in his bones or tissue. His skin grafts have taken well and the donor sites are healing well. He is expected to be here 3-6 months as his healing continues.
The staff and doctors at Bethesda and Walter Reed are absolutley amazing in their expertise and caring. After one of Ryan's longest surgeries, the anestesiologist teared up when talking to us about how the operation went. They realize that they are working to save the lives of some of the finest young men this country has, and they take their jobs very seriously. They cannot help but becoming personally involved. Since my arirval here, I has seen countless stories of both tragedy and miracle happenening around me. These young men are incredibly strong and resilient. They have great powers of recovery. No wonder us old guys don't fight the wars.
Last Tuesday, on my way back to the hotel here on base, I saw a lady very upset and crying. I stopped and asked if I could help and she told me that that next day she was going to have to decide whether or not to pull the plug on her son's life support systems. She said that the doctors had told her that his brain activity had stopped and that he had no chance of recovery. She said she didn't believe it and couldn't do it. The next day he squeezed her hand when she talked to him. The day after that he opened his eyes. This week he is on the road to recovery. At Bethesda, several weeks ago, a mother was told that her son would be in a coma for several years. He was blind in both eyes and had severe frontal lobe damage. Before I left Bethesda last week, he was walking around. These Marines and soldiers are incredible. They laugh and joke about their injuries and can't wait to get out of here to begin again in their new life.
I have seen tragedy too. One of Ryan's buddies that came over to Bethesda with him had a badly mangled leg. He went through 5 surgeries trying to save it but to no avail. Last week they had to take it off at the knee, and yet he is still in good spirits. Ryan' roommate, who has lost a leg, and had a badly mangled arm, had to be told last week that that the 7 guys that were killed in the car bomb explosion in Bagdad were from his platoon, and then we recived a call from a lady Trish knows 2 days ago telling her that this young man's best friend had just been badly wounded. We informed his dad so he could break the news.
Every day, despite the bad news and the setbacks, you see God at work here and I believe it's been a life changing experience for me. We get calls from all over the states from people that we don't even know and have had E-mails from as far away as Slovenia (where is that anyway). There are so many people out there that want to help in any small way. It has certainly reaffirmed my faith in mankind.
Why this war had to happen or why my son was one of the injured are questions I can not answer, but if anyone thinks that the leadership of this country doesn't know the consequences of their actions, let me say this. We have been visited by the Secretary of Defense and the Assistant Secretary of Defense twice. The Presidents personal physician has come to check on Ryan. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs invited us to his home last weekend. Mrs. Rumsfeld bought us lunch 2 days ago. The Chairman of the House Financial Commitee has visited Ryan twice. One of the Senate Armed Services Commitee members visited yesterday. The Commandant of the Marine Corps personally gave Ryan his Purple Heart and the Assistant Commandant visited him twice. I have not even mentioned the countless generals and congressmen that have visited. So to those who think that our leadership is not aware, bullshit. I have seen their wives cry while talking to my son. I have seen the looks in their eyes also.
So how do I feel and did my son give his arm in vain? Let me just say that this war is a long lasting one. It is a holy war that has been going on for a long time and is only getting worse. This country [the USA] has been under attack for years and only recently did they [terrorists as a whole] manage to attack us on our own soil. But, we have retaliated in the only way that will protect our country, and that is by taking the fight back to their homeland, to keep them reeling and unable to attack here. Anyone that thinks that they won't attack when we let our guard down, is seriously mistaken. No, Ryan did not give his arm in vain, he gave it for his country so all of us could sleep at night without fear .
( I have the name and address of the company Rick works for, if any of you would like to drop them a note and thank them for the way they have treated the father of this hero)
For more info on the Marine Moms Online site, read this (but note the URL they give is incorrect, the correct one is at the top of this post).