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Friday, November 11, 2011

My Veterans Day Heroe

Long ago in the before times, I was an Army wife. 


Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany
I lived on post across the street from Landstuhl Army Medical Center in 2003 when the second Iraq war was officially started.  Being the largest military medical center in Europe, Landstuhl became a very busy place.  Media from all over the world started pouring in, CNN, BBC, CBS, NBC and so on.  Celebrities jumped on board too, Shaq, Jennifer Lopez, Joss Wheaten and many more came through Landstuhl to visit the wounded.  I was also pregnant with my son during this time.  I would go in and out of the hospital to go to my many appointments due to the fact I was a high-risk pregnancy.  On my trips I would see so many…too many, wounded soldiers.  Some just arriving from Iraq, others in the process of trying to heal and cope.  Many of the men and women just arriving would not really talk, they were the most quiet, sullen visitors to the hospital.  I do not think they were able to really grasp what had happened to them, how to go on from that point.  The soldiers that were healing, they were more talkative.  I remember taking my dog, Benny, for a walk one evening and passing by the hospital.  A man called out to me and asked me to bring Benny over.  He said he had been gone from home so long and what he missed most was his dog.  He pet and played with Benny for a long time and then thanked me.  Walking Benny over to visit became a regular evening routine for me until I became too pregnant to go for walks. 

Shoshana Johnson, Patrick Miller, James Riley and David Williams
I met so many interesting people during that time, but one person stands out in my mind the most.  That person is Shoshana Johnson.  Her name might not ring a bell at first but when I tell you that she was one of the POW’s that was rescued with Jessica Lynch, the memory may return.  Before I stated that there was a media presence at Landstuhl when the war started, this was enhanced into a frenzy when the POW’s arrived.  It became very difficult to get anywhere or do anything on post.  To avoid all of the activity in the hospital, I started entering and leaving through a back door that wasn't easy for visitors to the hospital to find.  One day I was headed home from an appointment as usual.  As I opened the side door to the hospital I noticed someone was pushing a soldier in a wheel chair, this door was not automatic so I stopped and held the door.  As they got closer I recognized Shoshana from the news.  When she saw me she commented on how big I looked and that I should be sitting down instead of her.  We had a brief chat and I welcomed her back and thanked her for what she had done.  She was incredibly humble, friendly and had a constant smile on her face.  Shoshana Johnson was, and I say still is, the exact picture of the American spirit and I am honored to say I have met her.  Turns out when I bumped into her she was on the way to join in on this photo shoot. 

Today is Veterans Day and I am happy to say that I have seen nothing but constant tributes to our service men and women all day long.  Continue to remember what they have given up to protect our country.  They give up time with their families, the freedom of sleeping in, the ability to relax at home, the enjoyment of a sick day and so much more.  We take for granted all of these little things, but they treasure them and long for them when they are sleeping in tents and walking through hostile zones.  Thank you to the American Service Men and Women for all that you do. 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your kind words. Patrick and Jim had to hold me up for the picture above. Those 6 men held me up through our captivity and after.

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  2. Ms. Shoshana you are the most amazing person! Thank you for being so friendly when you were going through so much. I will always remember you and your fellow soldiers.

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