I had the pleasure yesterday of meeting two gentlemen, one who was one of the first Marines on Iwo Jima, and the other of whom was a soldier who was part of the Normandy landing and who, after a criss-cross journey through Europe, landed in the Arden on January 1, 1945. The Iwo Jima vet had one purple heart, for a machine gun shot to his head; the Europe vet had two purple hearts, one for mortar injuries, and one (which landed him in the hospital for eight months), for stepping on the WWII equivalent of an anti-personnel mine. I was so honored to shake their hands and thank them for their contributions to America’s (and the world’s) continued freedom. They too were proud of the contributions and, despite their injuries, both have lived happy, fulfilled lives, that have seen them into their high 80s. To them I say, as they say in Yiddish, may you live to 120.
I was reminded of this when Phibian directed me to a blog by JR Salzman (Lumberjack in a Desert), who was the victim of an IED and who is now recovering in Walter Reed Hospital. In discussing his injuries, how he received them, and the recovery process he’s now going through, Salzman has this to say:
Please remember this when you think about freedom. This isn’t a dream, this isn