As the country celebrates the end of the world's most wanted terrorist, I want to take a minute to thank our troops who are serving, who have lost their lives, and who have been permanently wounded.
Coming from a military family, and having served in the Air Force Reserves as a cadet, I know and appreciate the service and sacrifice of our troops. Everyone in the military knows the articles of the Code of Conduct. The first article states:
"I am an American fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense."
What a powerful statement to make. Anyone willing to risk their lives and well-being for the protection of America and our values, deserves our utmost gratitude.
For years I have volunteered with various programs for our country's Wounded Warriors and I was honored to be asked to emcee the kick-off dinner for an incredible program called Project Healing Waters.
Project Healing Waters helps bring peace to soldiers who have seen the worst of war. The program gives Wounded Warriors the opportunity to go out into the most beautiful countrysides across the country and fly fish. The pristine waters, the pride in learning to tie their own flys and the excitement of catching a fish helps in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veteran.
This weekend was one of the largest fundraisers for the program, earning over $150,000 for Project Healing Waters through a fly fishing tournament and dinner. The dinner was held at the base of a mountain on Rose River Farm in Syria, VA, one of the top fly fishing destinations in the country.
Ed Felker, who took these photos
It was stunning. As the sun set over the mountain, several Wounded Warriors stepped up to share their stories. Many had lost limbs and their wounds were clearly visible, while others wounds were harder to see but just as deep.
Whether the Wounded Warrior learned to fly fish in a specially made water wheelchair, or rebuilt confidence in himself through being mentored by a World War II Veteran named "Lefty", their participation in this program made their lives infinitely better.
Showing appreciation our service men and women has to be more than just a pat on the back. We should do every thing we can to make every day of their lives better... because they were willing to give their lives for us.