“There’s a naked man!” I loudly proclaimed. Patty, my sister, had seen the expression on my face before my declaration and already turned to investigate its cause. After my comment, she looked again but saw no one. She turned back around and laughed, thinking I had pulled one over on her.
“No!” I demanded. “I’m serious. I’m not joking. There’s a naked man out there!” Once again, Patty and the ladies with us turned to look. They laughed, but why shouldn’t they? The man had gone behind the restaurant’s brick wall so there was no way they could see him.
“Look!” I demanded. “I’m not joking!” The man was now in full view. “There he is!”
This time Patty saw him, but so did several of the other patrons of the restaurant. Patty, who is always carrying a gun, and several of the men around us jumped up and ran outside. It didn’t take long for them to realize that the young man wasn’t living in our reality. Something was wrong.
As I watched, a SUV stopped on the highway in front of the restaurant. A man jumped out and ran toward them begging, “Please don’t shoot him! Please don’t kill him! He’s my son. Please don’t kill him! He’s just returned from Afghanistan. He’s got severe PTSD. He doesn’t know what he’s doing!” Tears were rolling down the elderly man’s cheeks as he pleaded for his son’s safety. Patty assured the father that they were only detaining him, and trying to prevent him from running back onto the highway where he could be injured.
When the police arrived, the father once again pleaded for his son’s life. The police assured him that they understood the situation and were not going to hurt the young soldier. They only wanted to make sure he received the help he needed.
Even now, tears roll down my cheeks as I recall that day. When I consider how the father felt as he pleaded for his son’s life, how the young soldier must have suffered on the battle field to be in that condition, and the response of the authorities when they realized what was truly happening, how can I not cry? What a brave and courageous young man. I am so thankful for him and the many others who have willingly risked their lives for my freedom, for my family’s freedom, and for my country. I will ALWAYS stand and salute the flag that represents my country, the country for which our soldiers have suffered and died.
A HUGE thank you to all who have served in our armed forces!