The soldier behind the medalon May 26, 2014 @ 9:11 am (Updated: 9:12 am - 5/26/14 )
He told me his story, which I'm sure he's told hundreds of times, but it's certainly worth hearing. His company of Army Rangers were trying to take an enemy compound in Afghanistan. And of course, they were ambushed. The guns opened up, he was hit by a bullet, he and his group were knocked to the ground by a grenade. And then, as he's lying there in the dirt, he sees another grenade bouncing just a foot or so away. And that one would've finished them all off had he not grabbed it and flung it as hard as he could even as it exploded in his hand.
He lost his hand; he lost part of his arm. As he told me this story, he said he didn't feel anything, just that he had to do something to protect his buddies. So, with his remaining hand, he tied a tourniquet around his injured arm, called for help, and he got them out of there.
Most of us will never be tested in that way. I have no idea how I'd react, you have no idea how you'd react, even if you'd be able to go on with the rest of your life. When I met Sgt. Petry, he had a big smile, he was happy to shake my hand with his new mechanical one.
He's still in the Army today. He counsels families that get the same news his parents did the day he was injured. He ended his interview with me with a request for when you meet somebody in uniform. You usually say, "Thank you for your service." That's kind of a timeworn phrase now. Sgt. Petry told me that a little thumbs up is a good way to know you understand the price they're willing to pay.
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