A couple of Cowboys who happen to be Veterans too. They loved to fish, camp and tell stories by the campfire. Dad and Tom Hall
David and I watched a documentary on the NatGeo channel about an 11 year old boy who lives in Martha's Vineyard.
This little boy named Jack Nixon wanted to do something for the Wounded Warriors and asked his dad if they could figure out a way for some of them to participate in the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Blue Fish Derby.
Some of these soldiers had never fished in their lives. And still others who grew up loving this pastime faced a few logistical challenges with wheelchairs, prosthetics or battle fatigue.
I am not sure what was more inspiring, the little boy or hearing the soldiers sharing their loss of limbs from IED's or suffering from PTSD in a matter of fact tone. Each of them had such grit and determination. They were also highly competitive with each other.
An entire community welcomed these men and women with open arms. Boat Captains volunteered their time and boats for fishing expeditions. They lent their expertise to the contestants and stepped back to let them savor the victory of reeling in a fish or two on their own.
It was their first time back out into the world after spending months in the hospital recuperating from terrible injuries.
How can we thank anyone of these brave individuals for their sacrifice and service? Their wounds will heal in time, but their lives were forever changed in Afghanistan or other places in the world.
And though their bodies are maimed or forever changed in some fashion, they don't stop to feel sorry for themselves. Each of them would gladly go back into battle for their country and to support their fellow soldiers.
I hope that all of you check out the American Heroes Saltwater Challenge or www.saltwaterchallenge.org. There are several more organizations out there helping our wounded heros heal both physically and spiritually.
I am in awe of those who choose this avenue to serve and protect our country. Those veterans who came back from the World Wars, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq & Afghanistan deserve our respect and gratitude.
And to the families who have spent many hours at the bedside of their wounded warrior or shed tears at their graveside; we owe you a debt of gratitude also. Let us not forget the dedicated doctors and nurses and medical personnel who have improved the way that our veterans are treated in trauma units, rehabilitation and other avenues of healing.
If you have a minute, check out the pictures of those "fishermen". Their smiles are bigger than the fish that they caught. And trust me, those fish were not lightweight brookies either.
What if we considered our loved ones who are buried in the green pastures of eternal rest as part of the 6 degrees of separation theory. Each of them either served in the military or had a relative, child, brother, sister or parent who did. We could probably go back as far as the Revolutionary War.
Each loved one that you honor has had a part in serving our country. They might not have been in a battlefield or flown an airplane. But maybe they were mothers who prayed mighty prayers or fathers who stayed home and served as a civil servant in some capacity. It may have been a wife or husband who have kept the home fires burning.
It should always be an honor to thank our military for their service. And today, I am extending my own gesture of appreciation.
Thank you for your service.