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Yesterday I was at Walter Reed Army Hospital. I had gone there to start some medical clearance paperwork for my kids before we PCS to Germany. Just walking through the halls there will give you the chills. The third floor is where the shoppette is, it's also where the clinic is for the amputees. It's where they get their prosthetic limbs. They walk up and down the halls (some only get around on wheels) to varying degrees of success. Some are single amputees, some multiple. It's a very sobering sight... I never know whether to say anything to them or not. I usually just nod my head and pass on by. I wonder as I go on my way whether or not they are mad, sad, determined or what. I wonder if they hate me for not deploying, for not doing my part, for being whole and healthy still. Yesterday I walked out of the shoppette to see an all too common sight. There was a fairly young soldier/sailor/airman/marine making his way slowly down the hall with a cane and the lower half of his right leg missing. Just a bright silver prosthetic leg... A gentleman was helping to steady him. He was taking one step for every four or five of my normal ones (even in my slow lumbering Okie walk). I passed and nodded. Ahead of him were a woman and a little girl of about 4. They were walking together. Just as I caught them, the mother said to the little girl "Tell daddy to come on!" The little girl stopped and turned around. She looked at the wounded man and said "Come on daddy, hurry up and catch us!" I almost broke down and cried then and there. I'm choked up now, just thinking the scene through in my mind. How do you explain to a child why Daddy doesn't have a leg or an arm any more? How do you explain why Mommy isn't coming home? This little girl in her innocence obviously just wanted Daddy. Praise God that to her, he was still "Daddy" even if he wasn't the same as when he left. As I looked back down the hall, the man looked at his daughter, smiled and nodded. He made an grimace as the pain hit him harder as he tried to hurry for her. What won't we do for our children? Regardless of the pain, this man was going to do what his daughter wanted. She wanted him to hurry and be with her. He could have stood still and told her to come to him. She would have... But he didn't. He just gritted his teeth and pressed on. I don't know what this scene means or meant or will mean to me in the future. I've had a couple of these. Just like when we flew back from Europe there were flag-draped metal coffins chained down on the floor of the C-17 we were riding. Four rangers from Afghanistan that time. No prosthetics, no wheel chair, no pain, no nothing... Not even a little girl pleading for them to "Hurry Daddy!" I had eight hours of flight to sit and look... and think. I made sure that I was the last one off of the plane. Even though I was in civilian clothes, before I walked down the steps, I stopped and saluted the row of fallen men. It was all I could do. I realize something now that I have written this.
The scene of the man walking in the hospital corridor sort of parallels the story of God, Jesus and man. God made a sacrifice for us. Even though we didn't (don't?) understand, he was willing to do anything for us. Even to sacrifice his Son for us. He is willing to do anything to be near us, we just have to call out to him "Daddy! Hurry up! Catch me!" If we will just call out and accept that he is our Father no matter what, just like the man in the hospital, He will hurry to us. We just have to have faith.

May God Bless each and every one of you. May God Bless and protect our deployed troops.

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