Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Man on the Corner

Today I had a conversation with a man I will never forget.  His name is Michael and I noticed him sitting in a wheelchair at an intersection near Grace's school.  After I picked up Grace and got ready to head home, I saw a sign taped to the back of his wheelchair.  It read "Disabled Veteran".  I drove off with the girls in the back of the car and knew I needed to turn around and talk with him. 

So, I drove around the block and pulled into a nearby parking lot.  For a few minutes we chatted.  Michael is disabled - his left leg is amputated.  He is an Army veteran and having a tough time in life.  I gave him what little cash I had on me, but I know it won't solve any of his real needs.  He seemed lonely - eager to talk to somebody.  Eager to share a bit of his story.

I don't know where he's at in life... I don't know if he has a family or any friends.  I don't know where he lives or if he has a home.  These are all things I wish I had asked.  I told him "thank you"... whatever that may mean to him, I don't know.

After ending our chat and saying goodbye, I drove home with the girls.  I was shaken.  I cried when I got home.  War changed Michael as it does all of our men and women in uniform.  His life is forever changed.  And now he has one leg, a wheelchair, and is in need of money and companionship.

It's no surprise that I have a heart for veterans.  I'm proud to be married to one and am happy to know so many.  But there seems to be a great divide - something that is lost and broken after they come home.  We forget to say "thank you", we forget to check in.  Fortunately, many veterans have a good support system.  But obviously many do not.  Too many are left behind after they've served.  I believe progress is being made, but it's too slow and not enough.

Veterans Day is a few weeks away.  I hope that we can all find a way to practically thank a veteran and let them know that we don't take them for granted and we won't forget what they've done.

1 comment:

USNchic said...

Beautiful post, Jill.