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Brian Brennan

One year ago Lt. Brian Brennan lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb while leading a patrol in Afghanistan. The explosion which left him lame took the lives of three of his fellow soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division. Brennan also suffered a brain injury so traumatic his family wondered if he would ever be the same. As he lay on his bed in a coma, doctors said he might never fully recover.

One day he received a visit from Gen. David Petraeus who had once commanded the 101st Airborne. The Four-Star- General said several things to try and encourage Brennan and bring him out of his coma, but there was no reaction in the patient. When he was about to leave he tried one last thing. He looked at Lt. Brennan and yelled out one simple word, Currahee! A Cherokee Indian word that means “stand alone”. It was also the nickname for the famed Band of Brothers regiment of the 101st. Airborne, that Brennan was part of.  What happened next defied all logic and is truly inspiring. A man who had been unresponsive for over three weeks began banging his stumps in what must have looked like an attempt to come to attention.

He not only made a full recovery, but is now walking with the help of prosthetics. Once again we have another example of how bombs can take an American soldiers legs but they cannot take his courage nor his valor.

Moving video of Lt. Brennan:

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Keep up the Fire

After Sgt. Daniel Shaw was killed in Iraq on November 5, 2007 his wake back in West Seneca Falls New York was held on Veterans Day. I happened to be town and could not think of a better way to spend Veterans day than by paying my final respects to a soldier and convey my gratitude to his family.

What most impressed me that day, besides the statue like soldiers that stood guard by the flag drapped coffin, was the conversation I had with Sgt. Raleigh Heekin. He was the officer assigned to escort the body of Sgt. Shaw back to Western NY. I was inspired by his stories of combat and his calm resolve to continue the fight.

Beside the coffin of Sgt. Shaw there was an easel, upon which was drapped his uniform. Sgt. Heekin explained the meaning of the crest on the shoulder of the uniform and the words “Keep up the fire” .

You can find out the meaning of that phrase and the rest of my impressions by clicking here:

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