Saturday, December 10, 2011
NO THANK YOU!
"THOSE WHO EXPECT TO REAP THE BLESSINGS OF FREEDOM, MUST, LIKE MEN, UNDERGO THE FATIGUE OF SUPPORTING IT."
I don't know where to start. Today I got so mad I could have hit someone, something or anything in my way. Sure I get mad like everyone else. A car that cuts you off, the stupid mistakes people make, the dog who tracks mud on a recently mopped floor...and on and on. But today I was really, really done! It happened this morning. It is now evening, and I am still livid.
Penny's From Heaven Foundation, Inc. has tables at several of the Barnes and Noble stores in San Antonio with multiple therapy dog teams who come and wrap shopper's Christmas gifts and in return we receive a donation to our foundation to assist with the wounded warrior projects, etc. We are doing this multiple times during these few days left before Christmas. The stores are packed and as people are waiting in line, we tell them about our wounded warriors and PTSD and service dogs and therapy dogs.
This morning I hadn't been there but about 20 minutes and had collected about 40.00 for our donation boxes given by folks who expressed how grateful they are for what we do to help our returning military that have been leveled by the hell of PTSD, TBI and MST. Small children came up and put pennies into the container, as their parents explained that it went to help our 'sick soldiers.' It was a beautiful experience.
Then there was this one man in line waiting to check out. I explained to him what we were doing and smiled and asked if he would like his gift book wrapped for free. He simply said, "No thank you." I then asked him for a donation of any size to help our wounded warriors returning from war. He said, "No thank you." No thank you? I don't understand? How could he just say no thank you and turn away. In so doing he turned his back on his warriors...our military who has his back.
I am having trouble finding the words to express how I felt and what I thought. Perhaps that is a good thing. I wanted to tell him that our warriors are laying down their lives every second of every day in war torn countries so that he has the right to say "No thank you." I wanted to tell him what a jerk he is and invite him to come with me to the Warrior Family Support Center or the PTSD hospital or to jump off a bridge, but I bit my tongue until it hurt.
Sadly, it reminded me of two Christmas's ago when I was at a church manning a PFHF booth we had set up for parishioners to stop immediately after services and sign Christmas cards for our deployed troops, expressing their appreciation for their service and their sacrifices. Believe it or not, more people said no they would not, or they didn't have time, or they would think about it, or they would be back later to do it, than signed the cards. I was sickened.
I don't care what people's political or religious preferences are in the least. I don't care what they were doing in church when they knelt and thanked God for whatever. But I find it far more than hypocritical, when they walk out the door of that church and refuse point blank to sign a Christmas greeting card for a warrior far, far away fighting for their freedom. What I also care about is that they are living in America...land of the free....and they have the audacity to say "No thank you."
The anger increased, as most of the afternoon I spent at a lock down hospital facility with wounded warriors with severe PTSD. I see the hell they face. I see the blank look in their eyes. I see the families that are torn apart. I see them grasping for the life they once had or a little piece of it. I hear them tell me what they saw, did, heard, felt, witnessed comes back to them every night. They never or seldom sleep, so they don't have to relive war. They can't leave home, they isolate and the list goes on.
These guys and gals have cried until they have run out of tears. I have sat quietly for hours as these warriors come and sit or lie on a blanket on the floor with Kelsie, my PTSD Service/Therapy Dog or Colonel, the TADSAW ambassador German Shepherd. They just stroke the dogs as they lay their heads in the warrior's laps. Trying to remember or to not remember, trying to wash away hell. They gaze forever into the dogs eyes. I don't need to guess what they see. I see a pleading for help to end the flashbacks, the horror, the grim reality of what they endured and can't forget. To end the pain.
I see them experience, sometimes for the first time since combat, peace. Kelsie or Colonel don't ask questions or make judgements or put conditions on the relationship. They are simply there. PTSD doesn't discriminate. It is horror locked inside.
Moments of courage and greatness are revealed in our warrior's stories. All are legendary and all hold great sacrifices. These are not simply war stories, but lessons in character, patriotism and devoted love of country.
So to the man in line at Barnes and Nobel who couldn't give .25 to help a warrior and to the people coming out the door of the church after praying for forgiveness, who were too busy to sign a Christmas card to a warrior, I say to hell with you. I feel sorry for you. You must be very sad people and you have to live with yourself.
By not signing a Christmas card or donating loose change to a warrior these people let the warriors down. But what I can guarantee you is that the warriors won't let them down. They will lay down their lives for them. They will carry the flag into battle so that you, my dear friends, can have the freedom to say 'No thank you.'
Anyone want to help me change the world? I guess to change something you first have to understand it. And I quite simply do not understand it.
"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."