>As you well know, our armed forces have been engaged in battles in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than seven years.
War is not a pretty thing. People die. People get hurt. People suffer. More than 5000 soldiers have been killed during combat action since the wars began in 2003. Some estimates are that there have been more than 40,000 American soldiers wounded. Many more are dealing with stress disorders as a result of being in combat.
Far too often, we don’t consider what happens to those soldiers who are injured – sometimes catastrophically.
This is where the Wounded Warrior Project steps in. The WWP is a non-profit organization based in Jacksonville, FL. Their mission is to raise awareness & enlist the public’s aid in terms of assisting wounded servicemembers, to help injured servicemembers aid and assist each other, and to provide unique programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
This past weekend, I saw the work that Wounded Warrior Project does first hand. I mentioned earlier this week that over the weekend I attended a college lacrosse tournament. Lacrosse is a big-time partner with the Wounded Warrior Project. The lacrosse tournament consisted of open-to-the-public practices on Saturday and a double-header on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Wounded Warrior Project invited several wounded servicemen to attend practice, interact with the teams, and participate in the events. The soldiers I saw had been severely injured: Two had lost legs and one had apparently been the victim of an I.E.D. and had fairly serious burns all over his head. The really cool thing was that the college teams really embraced these soldiers and treated them as one of their own. I overheard one soldier in particular talking with the head coach for Notre Dame. The respect that Notre Dame’s coach displayed was unbelievable. After they chatted, the coach called the entire team over. The circled the soldier and listened to him talk for a moment. Afterwards, they gave him a huge ovation.
I’m sure that each of you have an opinion about the wars in the Middle East. Regardless of our personal opinions (for or against the war), we should recognize that the soldiers that are deployed there place themselves in harms way each and every day. Far too often, they suffer the consequences. Far too often, upon returning, they are forgotten.
I’d ask that as you think about what you’ve read here, spend a moment reflecting upon these men & women and the sacrifices they have made. Consider how you can support and honor them.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Wounded Warrior Project, please visit their website.