From My Backyard to the Battlefield

His name was Eddie.

Though his family attended a church across town, his teenage sister was part of the youth group my husband pastored. When our first baby was born, we asked her to babysit.

It started a friendship between our families that lasts to this day.

Their Eddie and our Kenna were just months apart. As they grew, they became childhood friends.

Both were homeschooled and once both moms decided, since their public school friends had no classes that frosty, foot-of-fallen-snow January day, we’d give them a snow day too.

Here they are in my backyard before retreating inside to warmth to sip some hot cocoa.


Eddie and Kenz January 1997


Ed and Kenna today

Eddie was always a delightful, polite and fine son.

Today, now a young man, Ed (forever Eddie in my mind) wears a scar of war.

He also wears an artificial foot. The one given at birth is no more.

Hear his sister Shari’s words after returning from a visit to his rehab hospital:

I reluctantly returned last night from my visit with my brother. I really do not have adequate words to describe the trip: amazing, overwhelming, heartbreaking, inspirational.

Even though I thought I was prepared, I have to be honest and say I held in the tears and really had to take a few minutes to adjust. I tried to hide that from him but I’m sure he knew.

It’s not just seeing my brother that is a mixed emotion it’s being at that facility that is completely life changing. I believe every American should have to take a trip there. I don’t think anyone realizes the obstacles these boys have to overcome when they are injured. Nor do people realize the volume of injuries that are taking place.

My brother is now in an apartment building with two wings. One wing is five stories the other eight, totally filled with amputees!!! These are kids most of which are under the age of 25 and most losing at least two limbs (usually both legs).

A large majority are without 3 limbs (both legs and an arm). You can tell they try very hard to salvage at least an arm for these young men. Many have one arm, however mangled and without all their fingers, their attempt at giving them something.

You walk through the halls of this apartment building knowing there is a different story and heartbreak behind each soldier, but also courage and hope to find their place now.

As if walking through the hospital and apartment building isn’t enough to give a whole new meaning to our American Flag and everything it stands for I got to take two trips to physical therapy with Ed.

I couldn’t help the tears that came not only for my brother but the others whose injures are so extreme. To see them in tears of their own pushing and working so hard to overcome their injuries and simply try to live a “normal” life was again was something I cannot put into words.

The things you see them do (those without limbs literally rolling from one place to another) with a smile or pain dripping off their face made my life look like roses.

This may sound weird but I felt very blessed to experience that and be taught the appreciation for …well.. basically everything. You don’t realize how much you have until you experience what I did at Walter Reed.

A few weeks ago our Kenna hopped in her car after work late on a Saturday and traveled from her home in North Carolina to the nation’s capital to visit her childhood and still close friend.

Like old times, they made pizza. Laughed. Fell asleep watching movies. She even gave him a haircut (legally now that she’s a real cosmetologist!)

She even proudly witnessed his very first post-war step.

Mom Sharon got to be with them all weekend.

I got to stay home and pray as the update tweets rolled in; pray for the little boy from my backyard who grew into a man, gladly giving limb, and nearly life, so others could live free.

A kiss from mom always makes it better.

Sweet sisters, I have no words of help here today.

No clever quips.

No organizing tips.

No fun giveaway to offer you by a comment left.

There is nothing in this post here for you today.

Instead I am asking you to take an unselfish moment of time to leave a comment for soldier Ed.

Even a simple thanks to this man whose life was altered forever because he tried to fight for a better life for foreign strangers whom he did not even know.

Veterans Day is sorely and sadly overlooked.

Will you make in not be so here?

I thank you.

And I know Ed and his sweet, sacrificial family do too.



  1. Dear Ed,

    I was very touched by the story I read above. I think it’s hard for most of us as Americans to grasp just what our military men and women have truly given for our country. I am honored to be an American, and proud of our military. I am sorry that the cost of freedom remains such a high one. Please know that what you have lost, has also caused many to gain something that is priceless. Thank you for your service to our country and may God bless you beyond measure for the sacrifice you made. In HIS Love, Joan Goslin (Texas)

  2. Dear Ed,
    We can never thank you and your fellow soldiers enough for your service and sacrifice for the preservation of our freedom and country as well ass the stand you take for the oppressed in other countries throughout the world. I cannot imagine how hard it was for you and your family to be far apart and in a foriegn land. Thank you for making such a huge sacrifice. Please know that it will never go unappreciated. Our family will be praying for you and your family as you recover and reconnect with your family.

    Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

  3. Thank you, Ed! I cannot express in words how much your sacrifice and dedication mean to me, to my family, to our nation, and to those thousands of miles away, who hopefully will experience sweet freedom fully someday. You are amazing and brave and you probably don’t feel like it, but you provide an example for all of us – to be dedicated, to give all, for what we know is right. God bless you dearly!

  4. Ed,
    Thank you for everything!!! You are truly a hero. I will be praying for your recovery and that God continues to Bless you and give you peace!!!

  5. There are no words. Your sacrifice is tremendous. And it is known. Thank you. I pray God will be with you on every step of the rest of your journey. He has a plan and a hope and a future for you. :)

  6. Via email: Thank you, Ed, for your time, effort and sacrifice. My words are insufficient for how I feel.

  7. May God be with you, Ed, as you continue to heal and improve. Thank you for your sacrfice so that we may continue our freedoms. God’s Peace to you and your family.

  8. God bless you Ed. In Jesus Name. I ask for continued strength, courage and healing to your body. May your spirit be lifted by these encouraging words left here today just for you. May your family and friends also be strengthened. Amen. Ed, thank you for your sacrifice.

  9. Thank you! Words cannot say what your service to our country means. I think of it often as I homeschool my children…freely. I think of it when I carry my Bible and go to church…freely. I think of it as I share ideas and opinions and vote…freely. You are loved, appreciated, and prayed for by many…even by those you’ve never met. We are grateful for all you’ve given.

  10. Thank you so very much for your tremendous sacrifice. Mere words could never begin to convey the gratitude we feel for you & those like you. God bless you & keep you!

  11. Ed – Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (I wish I could type it a thousand times) There are prayers comeing your way from Oklahoma. My God grant you a speedy rehibilitation and many more blessed days.

  12. I thank you so much. I pray the Lords blessings over you and your family. To feel His touch and comfort and His saving grace. God Bless, Dawn

  13. Happy Veterans Day Ed! Thank you so much for your service and your sacrifice. I am blessed by your smile in the photos. I pray a sound mind over you and a covering of peace that surpasses all understanding be with you each and every day and night. May the your cup run over with joy and love and laughter a hundred fold for each tear you and your family shed. God bless you today and always!

  14. Thank you, Ed, for your service to our country, and also to those who served along side you. Words seem pretty inadequate for your sacrifice, but hopefully you hear the heart behind them. What you and your fellow soldiers/veterans do and have done is appreciated, respected and admired. Most of us have no idea what you have been through, but can only offer our grateful and heartfelt appreciation. Lifting you and all veterans up in pray to our good and gracious Lord, who will never leave you or forsake you.
    One of Many Grateful Americans

  15. On this Veteran’s Day, simply saying “thank you” just doesn’t seem adequate. To you and all veterans, I wish and pray for God’s blessings of love, peace, and a joyful and abundant life!! Thank you so much for your service.

  16. Dear Ed,
    Thank you for serving our country unselfishly and bravely!! Thank you is not adequate for all you have sacrificed for our freedom and safety. May God be with you to give you comfort, courage, and strength to endure the loss you have suffered. May God bless you abundantly in everything you pursue.

  17. Thank you, Ed, for your service and sacrifice for the freedoms that we have.
    You are the ultimate patriot. Best wishes and prayers for a blessed life! It was an honor to post today On your site.

  18. Ed, I don’t think words can adequately express my gratitude for your service and your sacrifice. May your life continue to be a blessing to others as God uses you, strengthens you, and guides you. Keeping you in my prayers!

  19. hi ed, it was so touching to read about you and the courage you show every day. i home school my kids too. they are adopted and have some special needs. courage comes in many forms and i see in them courage that i don’t think i could have. just like i see the kind of courage in you to do what needs to be done to live beautifully in this world again. God be with you in this and may you and those around you see what courage and faith looks like and may they be encouraged by your courage enough to overcome their own problems as well. hugs, hunny.

  20. Thank You Ed!
    Your story brought tears to my eyes as I thought of you and your gift for freedom. I pray that you will take courage and be strong through this very difficult time. My father also lost a leg, so I have seen the effort it takes to each day get up, work through the pain and keep going. I also have 5 young boys and know that one day it might very well be one or more of them in the fight for freedom. Thank You again for your example and I hope that your journey to healing and a new way of living comes quickly!

  21. Ed, thank you for your service and dedication to our country. Thank you also for your great sacrifice so that we can enjoy freedom. May God bless your life.

  22. As a mom and gramma, I cannot thank you enough for your service and sacrifice to make this world a safer place. Prayers and hugs.

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