Thursday, April 19, 2007

Our Wounded Warriors Speak - MSNBC Interviews

My friend, Jack Colletti, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. This morning he forwarded me an e-mail from his friend, Matt, that stopped me in my tracks.

In the wake of the tragic murders at Virginia Tech, the unfathomable carnage this week in Baghdad, and the mounting death toll among our troops in Iraq, it is easy for us to succumb to a creeping numbness and a paralyzing compassion fatigue. It is hard for us to think about the suffering on a human level – person by person and family by family. The link provided below to MSNBC provides a window into a remarkable series of interviews with wounded soldiers who tell their stories of struggle and survival and hope.

Like Bob and Lee Woodruff, whose story has helped to personalize the results of IED explosions and other forms of violence in Iraq, the stories of the three wounded veterans offered in the link below are simultaneously haunting and uplifting.

As I watched and listened to these interviews, I was moved to tears and to a feeling of great compassion. But feeling compassion for the men and women who have sacrificed their health while serving their country is not enough. That compassion must fuel concrete action.

I was in the audience this past Friday evening in Rye, NY when Bob and Lee Woodruff came home from their nationwide media tour. They held a book signing event as a way to say thank you to their neighbors for all of their support over the course of the last fifteen months. At the end of the Q&A session in the auditorium of Rye High School, I was able to ask the last question. My question that night is an apt question for us to ask ourselves as we watch the videos in the MSNBC link:

“Bob and Lee, I want to invite you to challenge us as we prepare to leave this auditorium. The fact that we have read your book and heard your story means that we have a level of understanding that most Americans lack. We now know the needs that exist for finding better ways to treat veterans who are suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury. And that increased level of awareness gives us an increased level of responsibility to do something in response. What actions – beyond the obvious one of contributing money to the foundation you have created - would you like us to take as we leave here this evening?”

One of the answers that Bob and Lee gave was to find a way to visit with a wound soldier, airman or Marine. Many of the wounded do not have regular visitors, and would welcome someone to talk with them, play cards with them, help champion their cause in looking for work, etc. I trust that as you take the time to watch these MSNBC videos, you will watch and ask yourself: “What can I do to help?”

Here is Matt’s introduction to the MSNBC piece:

I think everyone can benefit from the strength of these veterans'. No compliment I can write can amplify their sacrifice.

Scroll about halfway down the page and click the link on the right "Scars from
Iraq"

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18169833/

Thank you, Matt and Jack.

If you are moved to action by what you have experienced, you may want to consider making a contribution to the Bob Woodruff Family Fund for Traumatic Brain Injury:

http://www.bobwoodrufffamilyfund.org/

Al

1 comment:

Vandy Dan said...

Al,

Powerful information on all 3 men.

It makes me proud to have young men like these fighting for us.

Thanks for passing this link along.