There are times I wake up with extreme pain. Some days are worse than others. I look at Brian’s Facebook page and am quickly reminded never to feel sorry for myself.
“You’re alive. Get the hell out of bed and take on the world,” I often hear myself saying.
It’s easy for any person, especially veterans, to have times where we just don’t want to roll out of bed. But we are a different breed. We are warriors who have demonstrated the will to enter battle and defeat whatever it is in front of us. Sometimes that, “whatever is in front of us,” is ourselves.
Senior Airman Kolfage posted something today that I have looked at more than twenty times already. It is a picture of an unnamed American warrior, in uniform, sporting his prosthetic leg, and toting his M4.
The image has caught my attention and I am absolutely “jealous.”
More alarming is not the photo of this unnamed new hero of mine, but rather that one word that keeps running through my brain—“jealous.”
What the hell am I jealous about? Is it because he is an amputee? I don’t think so.
It took about an hour to figure it all out and finally it struck me.
I am jealous of the warrior not because of his disability. Shoot, I have a broken neck with nerve damage that can never be fixed from a helo crash over the Af/Pak border in 2008. I am jealous because he is doing something I long to one day do again—fight.
The image is a stark reminder that no matter how much belief we maintain toward our contributions in serving the warrior brotherhood, someone else is doing something today much more commendable and or honorable.
Just because I served, contributing in saving lives all the while contributing in destroying the enemy, doesn’t make me anything special.
You want to see special? Look at the photo. This is a real die-hard red, white, and blue American hero. This is a real American who has already defeated the odds and maintained the intestinal fortitude to pick himself up and rejoin his brothers.
Thank you Senior Airman Kolfage for posting the picture of this American bad-ass. It was just the reminder I needed this morning.
Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is author of Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors