Happy Memorial Day

May 28, 2012 — 6 Comments

“No, sir, I didn’t lose my arm in the war.  I’m only 13.”

When I was younger I’d always get confused when older men asked me if I lost my arm in the war.  What war would I even have lost it in?  Looking back on it, though, it makes sense.  That was their experience.  And that makes me kind of sad.

It makes more sense when they ask me these days, being that I’m older.  Usually it’s a grizzled veteran and I always feel like I’m disappointing them if I tell them I was just born this way.  Sometimes they’ll just give me the standard military greeting (marines, army, navy, air force…) and I’ll nod and smile.  I hope that’s ok. I’m not trying to take credit for something I didn’t do, I just know how important it is to them to connect in that way; to honor their brethren.  It’s important to me, too.

Today is Memorial Day in America.  A day we set aside to remember those that have served, and especially those that gave their lives, fighting for and protecting us.

My grandpa was a war hero.  It’s no surprise to me that he’s still around at 92.  The stories my dad tells me about him are unbelievable.  He was shot in the leg in New Guinea and still led his men into battle successfully.  That gives you an idea of how awesome my grandpa is.  I love the connection I have with him and the war, too.  See, he named my dad Calvin Douglas.  My grandpa served alongside Calvin Douglas and their bond was so strong that he vowed to name his next son after him when they got home.  My dad then named me Ryan Douglas and I was proud to name my firstborn Samuel Douglas.  And someday…no pressure, Sam.

Sam, Me, Grandpa, my Dad

I’ve yet to have the opportunity to meet a soldier who has had a limb amputation due to combat.  That’s kind of my fault, too, because I live fifteen minutes away from a VA hospital.  The truth is, though, it makes me a little nervous.  Congenital amputation is so much different than traumatic amputation.  I never had an arm to lose.  These brave men and women have lost a part of themselves; literally and figuratively.  The magnitude of the situation is not lost on me.

That said, I know they’ll face challenges, both mental and physical, that I believe I can help with.  Whether that’s devising new ways of completing simple tasks or just getting them to laugh, I’d be honored to be a part of their recovery.  It’s definitely something I’m going to look more into.

In the meantime, let me just say how thankful I am for those who have chosen to protect me.  And to the families that have lost loved ones in conflict…we grieve with you and thank you for your sacrifice.



(Join the LOH Facebook community and follow on Twitter, too!)


Posts Twitter Facebook

I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

6 responses to Happy Memorial Day

  1. You are already helping so many Ryan. I know your dream of helping Vets will come true for you too. Your humor is part of that healing. Never discount that. Happy Memorial Day! I love you!

  2. Very well said. I have only been asked if I lost my arm in Afghanistan once. My response was “Oh no, all I did was be born”. If I’m asked this question again, I’m really going to strive to speak proper english. As a prosthetic user, the fact that wars drive advances in prosthetics is something that I often grapple with. Today, like everyone, I am remembering those that have sacrificed so much and would also like to say thank you to all Veteran’s and their famililes. As far as arm stuff goes, I will continue to do the best I can with what I have been given.

  3. sometimes i wonder how often people think maybe tate lost his hand due to some traumatic injury/illness. it’s bizarre to think about, because that would mean we’d all been through something super difficult and intense, which is so far from what our experience has been. does that make sense?

    i was just trying to think what war people might wonder if tate was injured in when he gets older, and was having a hard time figuring it out. then i realized that it would have to be one that hasn’t happened yet.

    i think the sun is getting to me.

  4. Ivor (England) May 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Get along to that VA Hospital as soon as you are able, Ryan. I agree you are doing plenty already for others as any Christian should.

    BUT I know from my life that putting off doing something that seems daunting only makes it become all the more daunting and before you know it you have convinced yourself (wrongly) that it has become too big for you to do it.

    I recognise me in your Blog this time 🙂

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>