with valor

by Amy

i have been a military wife for almost seven years now.  i can’t say i have seen it all, i can’t say i know the ropes, but i can say i have met more than a few heroes in my day.  the real kind.  not the hero that we joke about who returned a lost wallet or held the door for a waddling pregnant women…a real hero.  like the kind my son is named after.  like this man i had the privilege of meeting on thursday.  his name is jordan and he is amazing.

these medals, the awards…my first experience wasn’t the best.  one of my husbands closest friends received a few awards and honors.  at his funeral.  it was awful and awesome all at the same time.  meandering between feelings of patriotism and anger, i watched as his wife, and my dear friend, received his medals with a stoic look painted across her face.  if i was being honest, i was mad.  not at anyone in particular…just mad.  no colored ribbons or metal plates of any amount of greatness could ever be good enough to replace our friend.  i almost wanted to yell “keep your stupid award.  this doesn’t equal Jonah!” but i know that was not the intent.  i know these awards are saved for the best, the bravest, the one’s who sacrifice the most.  those men and women who truly deserve it.  like jonah did then and like jordan did this past week.

jordan did some pretty amazing things!  CRAZY amazing things really.  please take a minute to read about them here.  basically, he was injured in the line of fire, he continued to fight with a clear head and helped keep the rest of his guys safe.  multiple times.  meeting him, shaking his hand, talking with him and seeing his pictures on facebook, you would never guess what he has been through.  there always seems to be a crazy big smile on his face.  and now he is a highly decorated, smiling fool!

he received four military medals of achievement that day.  most notable the purple heart and the bronze star of valor (4th highest achievement award the military gives).  his proud wife and family, along with a packed room of fellow service members, watched and cheered as he was given each one.  this…this made me forget all about the sad awards ceremony i had first known.

his wife and family also had a beautiful plaque made for him with his medals, patches, and deployment details mounted beautifully alongside amazing artwork.

three other heroes received awards that day.  i felt so very aware of sacrifices made.  i felt so very aware of my freedom, of our country’s freedom.  here we are, in this small room, thanking some of the men that protect us and keep us safe at times when we aren’t even thinking about them.  i wanted television crews and newspapers and the president himself to be there, to see this, to thank them.  but it was just us.  the other service men and women, the airmen, the soldiers, the family members and me, with my camera.  it is so easy to forget that there are people around the world, fighting daily to keep us safe from groups and evils that we don’t even realize exist.  so easy to forget the many lives lost or slowed down.  the many rooms around this country with wives being handed their dead husband’s achievements or service members being applauded for their good work.  it is so easy to forget to say thank you.  it really shouldn’t be.

jordan and carly’s family flew out, drove out…basically all made sure they were here for this big day.  he had his own cheer squad, his loving wife and a whole bunch a people that just wanted to hug him, shake his hand and thank him for a job well done.  with way to much food, they laughed and chatted and enjoyed each other’s company…just they way they should.  i loved it.  i loved watching them all.  carly, so proud of her man and jordan, so humble and kind.

thank you jordan and carly.  thank you both for your service and your sacrifice and your inviting me into your lives.  thank you for helping balance out my views of awards and medals, for showing me the happy side of this and for ensuring my freedom over here while you have fought over there.  there aren’t enough words to thank you.  even still…thank you.  you are a true hero jordan and i am humbled and honored to have met you and to now say that we are facebook friends.  😉  thank you for all that you have done and for all you will continue to do.  thank you.