On Thursday when I was at the hospital one of the patients that I worked with was a young Iraqi boy. He had been shot through the leg, just below the knee. After a week of unsuccessful attempts to save his leg, they amputated about 4 inches below the knee. Four days later and still fighting an infection, they took some more, leaving him with a stump about four inches above the knee. I would guess that he was around 7 or 8, he was smaller than Jack, but he looked and acted mature.
Anyhow, when the surgeon was showing him how to use the crutches, his mother was sitting there. He talked to her, and then to the boy, through the translator that was there. Eventually they got him up and the surgeon grabbed the bottom of his t-shirt and the top of his pants in a ball. Then told him to walk down the hall. I stayed there with his mom and the translator. As they walked away she started to cry, but as they reached the end of the hall, she wiped her tears and put on the biggest smile possible as he turned back towards us. They repeated this several times, and each time that he had his back to us she cried and prayed quietly. She also asked about us getting a “plastic” leg for him? “That isn’t something that we are capable of doing here.” And she did her best to smile for him when he turned to walk towards us. After several trips he sat down on the end of the bed and started to cry. I assumed that he was tired, sore, and that he realized that he probably wasn’t going to get any kind of prosthetic here. It was a sad sight. I ended up moving on to the heli-pad and didn’t see them again that night.
So today as I walked to work I ran into the surgeon. We talked a little bit and I asked him about that boy, and about the “plastic” leg. He told me that there are places here that do that, but the chances of his family being able to afford one were minimal. So, that was pretty sad. But then he asked me, “How old do you think that boy is?” I guessed, 7 or 8, and told him about the size comparison to Jack and he laughed a little. He said, “He is 13 years old. That’s what a lifetime of malnourishment will do for you.” And he told me to remember that when people try to convince me that we shouldn’t be here. Remember that when people say that we should just walk away from this, especially after so much sacrifice. And he lived this life of malnourishment under a tyrannical dictator that killed those that disagreed with him. And he lived his life not having enough food to eat while Sadham Hussein built another palace.
So, have we done everything right and has this been an easy task? Obviously, not. Have we made mistakes, and miscalculations? Obviously, we have. But we have given these people the one thing that most of them never had, we have given them Freedom, and hope in the future. And we have held at bay the terrorists, the ones that travel here to fight and the ones still trying to reclaim their dominion over the people of Iraq. And I’d come back here a thousand times to keep one more terrorist out of my Country.
Have a great day, try to take a moment to be thankful for all that we have to enjoy and cherish it.