color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: Noah's Finally Getting His Purple Heart!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Noah's Finally Getting His Purple Heart!

Tomorrow morning 0900. Ft. Benning, GA
Of course, he only found out late this afternoon so there is no time for me, his Dad or anyone else to get there to witness it. Ggggggrrrrrr. Is it of so little consequence to the Army that this could not be planned and announced in advance? Could it really be that someone just decided today that they should do this tomorrow? I would hate to think that Purple Hearts are so commonplace that the Army can't be bothered to honor their wounded appropriately...
I told Noah to have one of the guys call me if they can just before he gets it so I can listen... and to give someone his camera in case they can actually get a picture. I hope the Army has an official photographer. And yes, you could say I was just a little bit ticked about this... After all, it has been SEVEN MONTHS since he was wounded and 10 weeks since his unit got back. I thought the Army was all about planning and precision. Oh, that must be the Navy.
And I had another of those calls... this time from the middle son (the Navy vet) who works for a landscaper (which means he doesn't work much in the winters). They have been back to work just a few weeks. His boss was up in a bucket truck cutting a tree and bumped a high voltage line and was electrocuted... 3 times. The electrical shock apparently shorted out the truck and they could not lower the bucket... and the electric company didn't have a crew in the area to de-energize the line. It took a few hours to get the crews there and get his wonderful boss down from the lines. He's alive, but barely. My son stood there helpless with the police and ambulance crews until the electrical company got there. He is so distraught. He really loves this 67 year old man. And there we were in Every Parent's Nightmare in which I wrote:
I believe that it is every parent's nightmare that something will happen to their child and that they can't get there. My sleeping and waking nightmare is hearing any of my children crying out for me and I'm not able to get to them... I could not bear the thought that there might be an emergency and I would not be there when my child needed me.
There's not much I could do in this situation, but I could have been there instead of here. I could have consoled him better in person rather than over the phone. I have said how much I love to hear my children laugh and I love to see them smile... but there is no anguish greater for a parent than to hear their child cry in such distress.
What was as upsetting for my son and for me was that he was the one who should have been in the bucket, but his boss sent him for sodas for the crew and went up in the bucket himself. My son had just returned to the job site when the accident happened. I shudder to think how close to death two of my sons came this year... and thanking God for sparing them.
Please pray for this wonderful man, Joe.
Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

10 Comments:

At 3/29/2006 6:04 PM , Blogger Suzi said...

I'll pray for Joe.

And, as for Noah's Purple Heart, maybe they meant to do it as a birthday present and just missed it by a day.

That bites that you won't have time to get there, after waiting all this time just for that. What were they thinking?

 
At 3/29/2006 6:32 PM , Blogger Stacy said...

Joe will definately be in my prayers. Sure hope he pulls through this.

Now, Noah's Purple Heart. This is so not right SSM. How could the Army do this to them. Why not give the family time to get there to see this special day. That's the Army though. Enough said. Sure hope that someone gets us some great pictures if nothing else.

 
At 3/29/2006 6:53 PM , Blogger Melinda said...

How awful about Joe. I will certainly pray for him and your son for having witnessed it...especially feeling as if he was an errand away from being in the bucket.

As for Noah's Purple Heart...HOW disappointing. I have asked myself the same questions about announcements, timing and the planning where the Army is concerned and end up frustrated with my answers each & every time.

I hope you are able to at least hear it or that someone can video it for you.

 
At 3/31/2006 8:11 AM , Blogger yankeemom said...

Yes, Joe will be in my prayers!
I'm glad that Noah is finally getting his Purple Heart and so sorry you can't be there!
It is, I think, the hardest part of our children leaving home and hearing that tearful or scared voice on the other end of the line and not being able to get to them. Your Navy vet son is also in my prayers.

 
At 3/31/2006 4:14 PM , Anonymous Phil said...

It's not the Army's fault that you found out so late about Noah's Purple Heart, it is the fault of the individual leaders in Noah's unit who failed to disseminate the appropriate information in a timely manner. Don't blame the Army, blame the people.

Purple Heart ceremonies don't materialize out of thin air... at least they're not supposed to. I've organized them before and there is a lot that goes into them -- media invites, guest invitations (including family of the recipients), VIPs from the installation, a catered reception, etc. Most likely, this ceremony was on the calendar for quite some time.

It is possible that Noah's PH paperwork only now arrived to his unit (i.e. there was a PH ceremony already scheduled for other soldiers and Noah got added at the last minute b/c his paperwork suddenly showed up). There is no villain in that scenario.

But, the most likely culprits are the individuals in Noah's chain of command, not the *Army* (whatever that means). And I'm sure that whoever dropped the ball will hear about it.

If it is any consolation, when we do PH ceremonies, we book the installation videographer to document it. We also designate an official photographer to take still photos of every awardee when he or she gets pinned. Hopefully Noah's unit does the same thing for you.

 
At 3/31/2006 5:30 PM , Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

"It's not the Army's fault that you found out so late about Noah's Purple Heart, it is the fault of the individual leaders in Noah's unit who failed to disseminate the appropriate information in a timely manner. Don't blame the Army, blame the people."

All due respect, Phil, but the Army IS its people. And, yes, I agree, that it's principally the fault of those responsible for planning such events. Hard to imagine that the event had actual long-range planning involved since Noah bugged the leadership almost daily for the past few months just to get ME off his a$$ (I threatened to call his CO as we have met and spoken on a number of occasions...). And his PH has been at the admin offices for a few weeks 'cause they told Noah it was there: it had been "lost" at Walter Reed (where he never was) for MONTHS before someone forwarded it to his unit. I don't know where the fault is and I don't really care, I'm pissed about it just the same. Guys might not understand... but the Moms do.

 
At 3/31/2006 6:20 PM , Blogger Lauren said...

I understand, SSM. And you are right about the "Army" being "it's people" and that includes everyone from the highest ranked general to CPTs to a PVT.

I have found that the Army is never prompt about anything unless it is in it's direct favor. The Army only cares about itself. This is not to say that there are not some caring people within the Army, but they seem to be the minoirty.
It really sucks, SSM. I'm so sorry you won't get to be there.

 
At 3/31/2006 7:26 PM , Blogger kbug said...

Well, here's a good purple heart story for you. My dad was wounded on Iwo Jima during WWII. As a matter of fact, he's convinced that his getting wounded is the reason he's still alive today...ahhh, but that's another story. Anyway, at the time, he received a letter and certificate, but never actually received his purple heart, probably because there were so many wounded on Iwo at the time and they didn't have enough to go around. Some 40 years later, because his kids had been bugging him about it (we can be pretty pushy sometimes and we far outnumber him), he requested the medal from the government, explaining that he had never received it. He received a package from the government with a letter of recognition, a certificate, and...no medal. Hmmmm....do we detect a trend here?? At the insistance of his children, he once again contacted the government to request the medal, saying that they were going to think he was selling them on the black market or something. This time, a Marine officer and Sgt. Major came out to his house and personally presented the medal to him. Now that's the way they should have done it in the first place instead of relying on someone to mail it to him. Besides, he really enjoyed visiting with his fellow Marines, even if they were just youngsters...... :)

 
At 4/02/2006 1:36 PM , Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

Prayers being said for Joe and your son.

 
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