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 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.
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.
I am overcome with gratitude to you Ed! Thank you so very much for all that you and your fellow soldiers do to secure my little girl’s ability to worship freely! You will be in our daily prayers and I’m so happy to have “met” you this morning on Ms. Karen’s blog! God bless!
Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough to say to you and all your fellow veterans. May God bless you in your recovery and beyond. I look forward to hearing more about your progress.
My heartfelt thank you to dear Ed and his entire family! I will be praying for you all. Ed, thank you for loving us, your country and fellow Americans, enough to fight for our freedom! We love you and are so proud of you! and of your dear family too!
Ed….there are no words to express the gratitude I feel for your sacrifice. My son is a veteran and had three deployments while in the service. Not only do I thank you for your bravery, but I also thank your family from the bottom of my heart for their sacrifices they had to make while you were serving. God Bless you and your family in your life ahead.
Thank you, Ed for all of your service! I am in awe of your faithfulness and your strength… God Bless you and your family and all of your sacrifices… I pray for your continues healing and that you feel the love and support from all of us with every step you take….
God bless you, Eddie! We are so appreciative of you taking a stand to protect the freedoms not only for Americans, but for so many others around the world. We continue to pray for you and appreciate your commitment.
Bless you son. God smiles and we give thanks.
Thank you so much for your willingness to serve every American! Thank you for your sacrifice.
I wish I could find the right words to express the gratitude that we feel for your sacrifice. For all of our veterans. Please know that you are appreciated and loved and in our thoughts and prayers.
I commend your courage for volunteering to serve our country. Thank you for your preparation and your willingness to do whatever you were asked to do. Your sacrifices in so many ways exemplify a true spirit of love for your fellow man and all that the United States was founded upon. I pray for you in your recovery, and am certain that great things await you.
For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
I thank you Ed for your sacrifice and I know that it must hurt right now to have your hopes and dreams shattered in this way. Who couldn’t help but think, “What now Lord?” When our dreams get changed to His desires and we can no longer even see the end plan, we cry out. Many times it’s only through loss, that we will be given a glimpse of His Something Better. It’s almost like sacrifice is required to unleash purpose. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I don’t understand all of it yet, and probably won’t this side of heaven. And that’s okay. Through my journey I have seen a glimpse, but not yet the full picture. You are just a young man starting out and have already seen more than so many ever will. I have prayed for you and hope that you know that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
Hi Ed. Thank you for all you have done & given that allows our country & it’s citizens to live with the freedoms so many take for granted. I love you with the love of the Lord & pray He will bless you with all His very best. I am very proud of you & all the young men & women who give so much to protect us. I have a 17 year old grandson who will graduate from high school next year & who plans on enlisting in the Air Force after graduation. My heart has mixed emotions………pride but concern, as your grandma probably had for you. I know He will be in God’s hands & I must simply trust God knowing He will be with him. Again God Bless you and thank you.
thank you Ed for your service. Words will never be enough for the payment you have given.
With much love from a proud wife, sister and aunt of veterans, and a mother-in-law of an active duty army soldier
Thank you, Ed for your sacrifice you have given for our country. I really appreciate what you and so many young people have given that we can still have the freedoms that we do today.
Thank you again,
Thank you, Ed, for your service and your sacrifice. May you be blessed for being such a blessing.
Words of thanks are not enough for men like you, Eddie. I’m not American but I am completely moved by this. What courage and sacrifice.
Karen, thank you so much for sharing Ed’s story with us all. Ed, I am so very grateful for all that you have given. There aren’t words to express my thankfulness. God bless you and your family.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Ed for your service to our country. I can’t adequately express how proud I am of you.
You. Are. Our. Hero!!!!!!!
Ed, Thank you for giving up some of your life to fight for what you believe in. You are a very special person to serve, so others can have freedom. Your life will never be the same but it will be more important to you and appreciate what you do have and your very good friends who stick by you. You will become stronger through all this and be able to help others because of your experience May God richly bless you through it all. Thank you for your willingness.. Lynn
Ed, thank you! You are a very much appreciated for serving our country. May God give you strength as you recover. Again Thank you!
Thank you for your service. I know so many of us go day to day not thinking about the sacrifices our military men and women and their families make every single day. I pray for physical and emotional healing. I pray that you always know that your sacrifice matters….that you are a hero, and that most of all, you know that God loves you, and we appreciate all you have done for this Great Nation. One of my favorite quotes ” courage is being afraid, but moving forward non the less” unknown.
Thank you so much for your service and courge. God Bless you and God Bless A,merica.
Dear Eddie, Thank you for all you have given for this country, for all you have given to me and my family. Veteran’s Day took on new meaning when my father in law passed and we had a military funeral. You soldiers give more than I have any idea. I am proud of my country and of those who protect it at such a cost. Ed, I salute you. Thank you, Sir for giving so much for my freedoms. May God bless you richly.
God Bless you! Thank you so much for your brave service to our country! You are a hero and I pray for your recovery to be very soon! Jesus will help you through it all!
Reading all of these brings tears to my eyes. My weekend with Eddie was so eye-opening. So many of these men and woman give, give, give, and take nothing back. They don’t understand why we would feel bad for them. The first time I was able to speak with Eddie after the accident I kept saying, “Thank You” and “I am so sorry.” He finally said to me, “Stop saying that, this is what I WANTED to do, this is what I CHOSE, and I would never take it back for anything, God has a plan and I know this is going to bring him Glory!” What an amazing witness to the hearts of our soldiers. Thank you is never going to be enough, it will always be cliche. But even beyond the gratitude for my life, thank you for showing me that in ALL things God truly does bring good if we turn it back to him! James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything..” I have seen the purest joy in this soldier’s eyes. You have helped me to truly understand this passage! I love you friend!