Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memorial Day 2015
By Jack Bogut

Got time for something very special?

A young man who works for a friend of mine was recently discharged from combat duty with the Army in Kuwait on the Southeast corner of Iraq.

His name is Chuck Hogue (his friends call him "Chucky") and he returned home with this great story.
 
He said last Christmas his unit wanted to do something special for the children in a small village his unit patrolled. They knew the Salvation Army and other humanitarian organizations collected things to send to our armed forces, and for them to share with local people in the countries in which they were stationed. Things like food and medical supplies and toys for the children.

Chucky’s unit chose MRE’s – meals ready to eat – and teddy bears.

When they passed out the meals to the adults and teddy bears to the kids, even though there was a language barrier, the gratitude and happiness of the villagers was unguarded and obvious and, short of being home, made Christmas for Chucky and his buddies very special. 

Then life settled back into the distrust, anxiety and chaos of war.

A couple of months later they were on motorized patrol through a small village and saw a little girl standing in the middle of the dirt road, blocking their way. She didn’t move as the convoy got closer and closer. They honked their horns and revved their engines and still she wouldn’t move. She just looked at them.

When one of the soldiers got out of the lead vehicle to physically move the girl out of the way, he noticed that she was holding or hiding something behind her. Could it be a weapon? Was she a suicide bomber?

No, what she was holding was a teddy bear. And she was standing in front of a four foot trench that contained an IED powerful enough to have blown up most of the convoy.

The language of kindness and generosity is universal.

What we owe all those who serve to protect us can never be fully repaid. That little girl knew that. 

We should too.

May we all receive…and remember to give…teddy bears.

Until next time, this is Jack Bogut

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