Thursday, October 10, 2013

Changing the Definition of a Hero

As an amputee, I'm very used to random people coming up to me when I'm out and about with questions about my missing leg. It's human nature to be curious about such things and most of the time I'm willing to stop and answer the questions. It either has to be a bad day or the person has to creep me out for me not to so when a woman came up to me in the store today I assumed that she had questions about my leg. Instead, she wanted to know if I'm a Belieber.  

WOMAN: Are you a Belieber?
Me: God, No!
WOMAN: Oh, well my kids love him and look up to him.
Me: Justin Bieber is a giant festering boil on the butt of society. If your kids are looking for people to look up to I'll gladly give you the names of some wounded warriors that they can Google and learn about or the names of some of those who gave their lives for us.

I thought that she would turn and walk away mumbling about my being incredibly rude as a man in the same aisle did after overhearing the conversation. She looked at me for a minute and the surprised me by taking out a pen and notepad and asked for some of those names. I gave her several names and watched her write each one down asking if she was spelling them correctly.

We stood there in that aisle, me naming wounded warriors and some of those who gave their lives, her carefully writing then down. When we were done she gave me a hug and thanked me for reminding her who the true heroes and role models are. She said that her children would be learning about those I'd named and that there would be a family field trip to Arlington National Cemetery in their futures. I told her to visit Section 60 where those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan are at peace in their final resting place.

The Names I Gave...

Fallen Hero - Chris Kyle
Fallen Hero - Jason Schumann
Fallen Hero - Alex Knapp
Fallen Hero - Derek McConnell
Fallen Hero - Patrick Feeks
Fallen Hero - Joe Granville
Wounded Warrior - Earl Granville
Wounded Warrior - Todd Love
Wounded Warrior - Tyler Southern
Wounded Warrior - Chaz Allen

Wounded Warrior - Justin Gaertner
Wounded Warrior - Will Parker
Wounded Warrior - Seth Pack
Wounded Warrior - Brent Hendrix
Wounded Warrior - Kevin Hoffmam
Wounded Warrior - Ed Lyons
Wounded Warrior - Kevin Gatson
Wounded Warrior - Tammy Duckworth