Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Walter Reed Day

Yesterday Princie and I spent most of the day in D.C., at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Days spent there always make me equal parts humble, grateful, outraged, and saddened. The outraged part starts on the way to Walter Reed. The long, traffic-filled drive gives me a chance to listen to the news. And thankfully, Princie is happy to entertain herself in the car. So, I have time. Time to listen to things on the news that make me angry. Oh, I plan on sharing all of it with you, tomorrow. Today, I wanted you to know about the parts of a Walter Reed day that touch my heart.

Soldiers. Brave and true to their country. The men and women you find at Walter Reed have survived injuries so horrific, there is no doubt they are warriors. Yesterday, I began keeping a mental note. A note of how many soldiers I saw who have lost one or more limbs in war. I had to stop. There were too many. Too much loss. I started feeling overwhelmed. Me? Who cares about me? How embarrassing that I felt the need to get out of there quickly because I couldn't "handle it". I looked down at Princie as she galloped down the hall, smiling at every person she passed. In the cafeteria, she spun in circles, arms outstretched with Spidey fingers. I asked what she was doing, her reply: "covering all these Army guys with my webs". She made every person she came in contact with smile or laugh. I realized I should take my cues from her. Our soldiers don't want our pity. They want our support, our gratitude.

I am thrilled to know that in 2011, our soldiers will have a new facility. They deserve it. I feel it is one way to show our support and gratitude. The current facility is depressing and dark. The buildings are old and their age shows. A new and improved Walter Reed. I am happy to know at least some of our tax dollars will be put to great use. Most injured soldiers make their very first stop, once they are back in the U.S., at Walter Reed. Many call it home for months and months of recovery and rehab. They deserve the best we have to give. After all, that is why they are there in the first place...because they gave the best they had to give.

American soldiers risk everything in fulfilling their commitment to this country. Everything. They are heroes. As I walk the halls of Walter Reed, I want to hug them, tell them how much I love and appreciate them. I can't do that. They are still recovering, still fragile. So instead, I make a promise to myself. I promise that I will let you know, that I will share how full my heart is. I am overcome with gratitude for people I will never personally know. My words are completely inadequate. I just wish you could have a Walter Reed kind of day.

9 comments:

KC Mom said...

I think everyone should take the opportunity to go there. What an eye-opener. Makes me grateful for those who make the ultimate sacrifices for us. Thanks for sharing that with us....we all need a little HUMBLEMENT in our lives.

Valsy said...

I too have had Walter Reed days. And I wish I was there with you shooting my spidey webs. :)
Vals

Rachel T. said...

You are right, spidey webs is exactly what they need. Pity doesn't help, they want to be thanked for their service and know we support them, but pity is not what they need. I am sure it was hard to stomach though. Looking forward to the future posts on this subject

Sue said...

Love this one, Natalie. My post today is about painting word pictures, and you just painted up a beauty!

mom said...

They are heroes...to all of us! Our Walter Reed day was very humbling and yes we all need those reminders. Fortunately, most of us get to "walk away" and go on with our lives.

Unfortunately, most of those brave soldiers cannot walk away, many physically and I am sure all, emotionally, from their Walter Reed days. They take very personal reminders with them....and their families.

They give me one more reason to be proud that I am an American. I only wish all of our public servants served this country as honorably and well.

And...people like the Captain cannot ever forget to many of those soldiers...he is their hero (whether he wants to be or not...to them, his endless care is heroic). Thank you, soldiers and Thank-you, Captain for taking care of the men and women who make me safe....

And Princie...well WHO does she NOT make smile?

L said...

You are absolutely right. We should all have that kind of day. I am so thankful for the men and women who sacrifice their lives for my freedom.

I am also thankful for their families who sacrifice what I take for granted.

karen said...

I would have loved to have had that experience. We all need eye openers from time to time to keep us humble AND grateful. Thanks for sharing.

Shauna said...

Thank you for sharing, what an awesome reminder to all of us. They are our hero's and they deserve all our love and support

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

Hi Natalie,

I emailed you a couple days ago with some REALLY important stuff. :) Walter Reed was mentioned.
Let me know if you got it. It's from my yahoo account, so let me know if you need it resent.