The experience of the day was beyond anything I expected. I struggled with writing about the experience because I don’t know where to begin. Should I start with the laughter or the tears? There were many Soldiers coming from many locations and many walks of life with many different and interesting stories. Not to mention the wide range of personalities. The laughter came in waves when the Soldiers relaxed and forgot that they had a camera or recorder pointed at them. There were also inspirational stories of Soldier’s who overcame the odds or who have accomplished impressive goals.
Early in the day, I felt overwhelming heartache when hearing the story behind the Purple Heart tattoo on an interviewed Soldier’s arm – a tattoo in honor of and out of respect for the selfless Soldier who took a bullet that was meant for him. My initial reaction was to fight back the tears, but I felt such anguish for this Soldier who lost a mentor, a leader, and friend that the tears fell despite my efforts. The amount of respect and compassion felt for this Soldier is immeasurable. What made these emotions even more intense was listening to his father, a Veteran himself, tell stories of his own experiences while looking at his son with pride and worry and respect.
If you visit a Soldier’s blog site, you can get to know each of them better by reading the informative posts and commenting yourself. You will be inspired and touched. Take the time to look at the blog sites for each Soldier, read the story behind the face in the pictures, and get to know the person behind the uniform.