How The Greatness Of A Nation Is Measured.

From the WaPo:

A single row of seats lined the walls of the plane. Toward the center of the fuselage, the litters were clamped to hangers suspended from the ceiling. On these triple-decker bunks were patients whose wounds did not require constant vigilance. They lay under brightly colored quilts, handmade by nameless American volunteers and given to them, along with candies and crayoned thank-you cards from schoolchildren, as part of the “repatriation package.”

How does one measure the greatness of a nation?

I can’t think of another nation on Earth that can do this: Give hope to its wounded. Give them a fighting chance to get home and live, whatever that means to them. Or simply die in the care of those so completely dedicated to their survival. To be surrounded by the love of their comrades in arms.

My mother pointed the picture out to me, saying, look, those are not GI issue blankets. Someone gave a gift of love and care. This is a thread throughout our history; women knitting socks and rolling bandages and putting together packages for soldiers they’ll never know or meet. It doesn’t matter. It’s what Americans, true Americans, do. From the medics and corpsmen in the heat of battle to the retired military wives who volunteer at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital, and every military care facility in the world, they bravely and quietly show the rest of us why we are the greatest nation on Earth.

This is both an uplifting and sad story, and it shows some of what is best in our nation, and why I’ll never give up on her.

As they say, read the whole thing.

ht: Mom

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How The Greatness Of A Nation Is Measured. — 8 Comments

  1. About 3 a.m., the hospital was running low on blood of his type and activated the “walking blood bank.”
    Someone began calling volunteers from a list of pre-screened A-positive donors. Allen, Solorzano’s buddy, went out into the chilly night, doing his own search.

    “I knocked on doors,” he said. “I was pulling people off buses. I saw soldiers and said, ‘Anybody A-positive? Please rally to the hospital.’ ”

    More than 50 people showed up. Thirty-five units of whole blood were collected. Solorzano got 21 units still warm from the donors, the state in which it’s almost a miracle drug. Finally, long after the sun was up, his body pulled out of the dive and leveled off.

    Isn’t it time to donate?
    Do it in the name of the late Diego Solorzano.

    She said: “The last time I talked to him on the phone, he said, ‘I’m a sheepdog, protecting the sheeps.’ He didn’t care for his own safety if he had to protect somebody else.”

    His stepfather said: “We were proud of him. I want to say that he never got into trouble with the kids who want to become gang members. He chooses to be an Army guy. His platoon called to say he was a hero. And we believe so.”

  2. As always, there is not a bad time to donate blood.

    Due to some medical “issues” of my own, for about ten years’ time, I was unable to contribute. That limitation ran out about a year and a half ago – and I try to visit a Red Cross or VA hospital donation center at least every couple of months. I have one of the blood types that is just about always in demand, and I consider it one of the few things I both can and should do to help support the “sheepdogs”.

    Next visit is already marked on my calendar for the end of next week.

    Thanks for the link, Chef – good story, albeit a sad-ending one.

  3. As always, there is not a bad time to donate blood.

    But there are better times and worse times. I remember being at a hospital in the DC area during the Pentagon attack. There were people lined out the door wanting to donate blood. The bottom line was that we didn’t need that much blood — since the number of surviving casualties that needed blood was relatively small — and blood has a limited shelf life. While some components can be frozen, etc., much of what was donated during those couple of days would time out and be discarded.

    We went ahead and accepted the donations, because we didn’t want to turn anybody away and we understood that many of these donors were doing so because they felt they needed to so *something.* They *needed* to donate as part of their self-image, and perhaps some of them might turn into regular donors. The problem is that had there been another incident in the relatively near future and the blood was really needed, none of these people would have been eligible to give again.

    It’s not as sexy as giving blood as a dramatic gesture during a crisis, but folk are much better served by people who give blood on a regular basis and when there is a specific call of need, so as to assure that there is a consistent supply for patients when they need it.

    The real heroes when it comes to blood donations are the people who do it on a regular basis year in and year out. They provide the safest blood (since their donations are tested on a regular basis), are the most reliable when there is a crisis, and save innumerable lives.

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