I witnessed a very sad scene yesterday in my local Wal-Mart. I had been having polite conversation with a man in his 50-60's at the deli counter. A minute or two after he left, I looked behind me and noticed he was down on the floor picking up his spilled chicken. After another minute or so, I realized he was still down there, and that something appeared to be wrong.
I went over to help, and he explained that he has a problem with the muscles in his legs, so that when he gets down on one knee, sometimes he can't get back up. I tried to help him, but he said I wasn't strong enough. A store employee came next and volunteered to help, but it was still a struggle. It was a several-minute ordeal as we both tried to help the man up. He finally decided to crawl to the nearest refrigerator case and pull himself up.
Now, I know that for any man to crawl on the floor in Wal-Mart would be very difficult. But the story doesn't end there. After he was able to stand up again, the store employee went to get the man a grocery cart for his things. While he waited, I asked him what exactly was wrong with his legs. It turned out that he was a Vietnam veteran who flew many missions, and some of these missions exposed him to Agent Orange. He now has a kidney problem (which I didn't quite understand; but basically what happens is that his kidneys won't hold much fluid, so the fluid leaks into his muscles, weakening them).
He was a very cheerful man, and didn't seem to be angry about his condition. He just said, "The VA will get around to me sooner or later!"
I was so moved by this man that I told my husband (through tears) this story, and was affected by it all day.
This is what bothers me: This man served our country faithfully, and in return is suffering life-long consequences for it. Now I realize he is not the only victim of Agent Orange, nor any other wartime malady to say the least. But when I think of a U.S. Soldier crawling on the floor at Wal-Mart because of a sickness he received in service to our country, it makes me cry. This man, along with all other veterans from any American War, should be heralded as a hero, given a place of honor wherever he goes, and, by any means necessary, given the best medical treatment to be had.
You don't have to agree with the policies behind the Vietnam War (or any other war) to know that our military personnel are doing us a great service when they put their lives on the line to fight whatever foe threatens our security and freedom.
I share this for two reasons:
1) To encourage you, when you see military personnel, to shake their hand and thank them for their service. Let them know that they are appreciated.
2) Pray for the sick and injured, pray for their healing, and pray for our spend-a-holic government to put more money into the Veteran's Administration and provide health care for those who deserve it the most.
Labels: America, Military35 36 37 38