I had the distinct honor last night of attending a gala event, the Night of Heroes for the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation. (The Foundation assists military personnel in financial matters and lends a hand to those wounded in the war on terrorism.) The evening was a fundraiser and a recognition ceremony for many of our military heroes. As such, it was an inspiring evening. But let me tell you what else I got out of the night.
Seated at my table were four of our finest military personnel. The first was a soldier who had been wounded in Iraq and is currently living at Fisher House while he obtains medical treatment. The second was a military doctor at Walter Reed, one that treats the mental injuries of war as well as the physical injuries. The third was a military nurse, who was in Kuwait when the war started in 2003. She worked at the first Combat Support Hospital in Iraq and came home to work as a civilian at Walter Reed. The final veteran I want to mention is a seaman who served in World War II and told us stories of his ship sinking and what it felt like to lose a buddy to the fight.
What do these four have in common? They are heroes, they are strong, they have sacrificed themselves and their lives for freedom and their patriotism. Each of these heroes talked about how war changed them, made them stronger and made them appreciate all that we take for granted. I didn't catch the names of these soldiers, airman and sailor, but I say a thank you - a thank you for their service and for opening my eyes to the individual, lasting sacrifice that is made by our military personnel everyday.
As Senator Jim Bunning said last night, "Patriotism is contagious." If he is right, then I hope you have caught a good case of it from me, as I certainly did last night.