When the medical evacuation helicopter was near our location, my soldiers slid a rain poncho under me. Six men, three on each side, picked up the poncho and started on a dead run to the clearing where the helicopter had landed. As I was carried to the helicopter, I saw tears on the cheeks of one of my squad members. I raised up so he could hear me above the noise of the helicopter and yelled “Don’t cry for me, I’m going home. Cry for those who are not coming home.” Because helicopters are vulnerable on the ground, my point man and I were literally thrown through the open door onto the floor of the helicopter as it lifted off the ground.
As a result of my injuries, both of my legs were amputated just below the knees. When asked by people “would you do it again?” my answer has always been “yes.” I’ve always been grateful I could serve my country to help preserve the freedoms we all enjoy.
Many years have passed since that fateful day. My wife and I have been blessed with eight children. Jenny and I recently returned from serving a mission at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where we helped military families cope with the challenges of long periods of family separation. Because of our experience, we were able to empathize with those who served so valiantly.
On this #Memorial Day may we remember those of all generations who bought and paid for our freedom with their lives. Your freedom is a gift from them.’