The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

FOURTH OF JULY |

July 06, 2009

FOURTH OF JULY
Name: RN Clara Hart
Posting date: 7/5/09
Stationed in: a military hospital in the U.S.
Milblog: From Our Perspective
Email: [email protected]

For many, the 4th of July holiday is about barbecues, fireworks, friends and spending time enjoying the freedoms this country affords us. I wonder how many spent any time this past weekend thinking about the true significance of this Independence Day? From Paul Revere and George Washington all the way up to the present-day grunts and groundpounders of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terror, our country’s veterans should have been honored with thoughts or simple prayers. Their services and their sacrifices are indelible, and have been essential to the preservation of our wonderful country.

Yesterday I enjoyed barbecues with friends and watched fireworks launched from the National Mall in the shadows of our greatest monuments. Today I find myself once again embalmed in sadness. My thoughts drift to good friends deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. My heart clings to one in particular whose mission is unknown to all but the most special of forces.

The media brings the news that thousands of troops are now battling in southern Afghanistan. The “Surge” has begun and we expect an increase in casualties. One WIA in particular has made this Independence Day holiday difficult for me. In receiving him from the crew who flew him in I was struck numb by the devastation of his injuries. Never in the four years taking care of the wounded, and never, ever in my entire career as a civilian trauma nurse and flight nurse, have I seen such complete decimation of the human body. For once in all my years in nursing I was stopped dead in my tracks and left speechless. Even worse was the complete and total irony that not one mark, scratch or shrapnel wound marred his handsome face.

Standing next to his bedside, I reached out to hold his hand. Cradling it in both of mine, I prayed for him. Since that day my nights have not been easy. Oftentimes his face haunts my dreams, making sleep elusive. I couldn’t even bring myself to go to church today. In keeping with the wonderful 4th of July tradition of recognizing and paying tribute to those in the military, my church honors those who sacrifice so very much. This church, often a place I find solace and peace, was one I avoided, afraid too many tears would fall in the presence of others. Others who could not possibly understand that in a nearby hospital lay a young man whose injuries were so horrific that I prayed he would die.

Comments

Thank you, Clara. For your caring work and your prayers for the patients under your care. Sometimes the knowledge you have makes the days and nights that much longer. Thank you for using the blog to help cope with the familiar and the new. We are all lucky to have you there.

Good one, Clara. And why do you suppose that the man with the handsome face is still with us?

God bless you Clara, you have a special place in the hearts of the men and women you care for.

Clara
First of all, part of the wonder that is God is that we can go to church, cry bitter tears for human devastation witnessed, and be comforted by God and those around who follow the precepts that Jesus taught. You are a caregiver whose previous posts have brought tears to my eyes and have caused many prayers to God to comfort you and give you the strength you need to do the work God gave you on this earth. After 28 years I laid my burden down and retired from the Guard. You're not done yet, Sweetheart, and my prayers will be with you for the joy and comfort you bring to our fellow soldiers. For make no mistake, you are as much a soldier/NCO as those Marines and Infantry who take the battle to America's enemies. God bless and keep you, let his love and strength fill you.

Clara, may God's light and strength flood your being.

Clara,
I fell back after reading your post. Baby I'm an old nurse. We look at those in our care rationally. Your prayer was appropriate. It's not what his momma needs, it's what he needs. Please pull others close to you as you grieve this horrible/wonderful job of ours. Connie James RN

Clara,
You've the heart and soul of an angel.

In all the posts here, I don't think I've ever read anything that wrenched my heart so much.

I don't know what else to say.

Mine and my loved ones "Independence" is dependent on our soldiers labors and losses. The service women and men have bought and continue to pay for our "Independence". Thank you so very much!
Mike Bieber

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