There was a Veterans Day program at 8:30 am this morning.
I walked up the stairs of my daughter’s school when a car going way over the speed limit blew a red light and hit two cars. Then the a-hole took off.
Like any other normal person, I dropped my purse and coffee and started running. It’s crazy how fast you can analyze a situation and make split-second decisions… I decided to run past the first car, with less damage, and head for the car in the middle of the intersection.
Two things happened; I realized I know this person, and holy crap– the driver’s side door is completely smashed in. Windows gone. What if she lost a limb? Or I have to control bleeding? I kept running.
As I reach the car I hesitate, only for a second, but I do. Turns our she had no major injuries. She was covered in coffee and glass. She was shaking and reaching for me– Saying my name over and over.
Then I looked around. The six veterans that were walking in while I was have taken up positions all over the intersection. Some at least a 100 yards away. Some are in full fatigues. Some just wore decorated hats.
An older veteran in fatigues met me at the car. He shouted orders into his cell, used codes and an interesting way to say 4-way intersection that I can’t remember now. He gave hand signals to the other vets, and five lanes became two. Just like that.
The elderly woman from the other car was being attended to by three more vets. One walked with a cane. Her car was smoking, and they made the decision to remove her. Somehow these vets did it without moving her neck or back.
The vet with me was three steps ahead and gathered information to track down the hit and run driver. Ten minutes later, police show up and take orders from the vet.
I was in awe of the scene around me. These men. These heroes. Heroes that were 15 minutes away from being honored by 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.
I have no idea what kind of chaos would have been going on in rush hour traffic (while people texted and whatever) if our vetrerans hadn’t been there.
The program started late. I watched the men from out on the street file in when their names were called. Kids read thank you speeches. Some lengthy, some funny (you’re awesome!), and some– like my daughter’s– short and sweet; Because of you I am safe. Because of your bravery I live the life I do.
You know, on Friday I saw Thor. Saturday I played games with my kids and made a yummy creamed chicken dinner. Yesterday we baked cookies. Today, right now, I’m wondering when was the last time some of our military did any of the normal, random things I’ve done in the past three days.
There are roughly 1,430,000 people on active duty in the Armed Forces. Another 850,000 in reserves. As of 2012, it was estimated that 40 millions people have served in the Armed Forces.
If I didn’t know before, I do now– it is not just the active duty or the reserves that protect us. These men flew into action today with cars everywhere, smoking vehicles, glass, gasoline, wreckage, and screaming.
To protect and serve is in them. Period.