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Ep 72 | A Medal of Honor for a Grenade I Can’t Remember | Kyle Carpenter | The Glenn Beck Podcast

2020-03-21

You would think that jumping on a grenade to save the lives of his fellow Marines would be the defining moment of Kyle Carpenter’s life. But anyone willing to sacrifice his own life must have had quite the story to tell already. And miraculously, he’s survived to tell it. The youngest living Medal of Honor recipient, Kyle can’t remember his heroic act. He recounts his life before the grenade, the surreal moments right after the explosion, and the amazing things he’s chosen to do with his second chance at life. The author of “You Are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For,” he’s chosen to embrace his scars and spread hope and kindness across the nation. And unbelievably, he’s grateful for the grenade that gave him the opportunity.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm sitting here in the Mercury studios which were built as the paramount lot care in Texas, and this stage has told many many stories and many films now I've purchase the lot and we tell stories in a different way and the people that have sat on this stage to talk about what they have done are incredible. The pod casts really are a collection of people that our unique and every day were surrounded by great conversations, and I hear a ton of stories, sad stories stories and will leave you devastated stories of hope, stories of tremendous humanity, hero stories, real life, heroes, people who accomplish the unthinkable today. I think the guest is all of those things. He is a walking lesson and empathy is story, unbelievable without a doubt, a miracle that he still alive. I don't want to ruin the story for you, but when he was twenty one years old, he went off to war most dangerous war zone in the world. He endured the unimaginable, but did it in a heroic way? And people will say this one event changed his life, but I disagree with that. I don't think it had anything to do with that event and that event the excruciating consequences of that of end impact him still today. This is one of those podcast you're gonna carry around with you for a while, because be my guest today has a tonne to teach about just simple art of being a good person. This story is of great empathy, motivate and inspire. You too, as his book says in the subtitle, build life, that's worth fighting for because you're worth it, his name is Kyle Carpenter, the youngest medal of Honor recipient ever so I have a reason. I want to start here
and you'll understand after you answer the first question just tell about the minute. That you jumped on the grenade start there So maybe one of the craziest parts of my journey is I do not remember that minute leading up to it. Weeding out too I do not remember Seeing the grenade, Hearing land thinking about it. All I remember is physically how I fell after that grenade. Detonated, and I was injured. So you remember lying on the ground after it detonated I don't know why I was so disoriented. Ay. Felt like I was laying face down on the ground, because the first thing that I tried to do.
Wise can push myself and shake it off by My first realisation was, I could not feel either one of my arms from the shoulders down. And like I said I had also disoriented Even I didn't know what was going on not being able to fill my arms to China. Push myself are they shake it off planted? first, seed of initial panic. Following that, I continued searching. Through the disoriented pieces, to try to put some type of what happened, together. I thought okay, The last thing I remember, I'm pretty sure, as in Afghanistan,.
I was on a roof. Maybe and now I'm talking about it's- it's. Crazy that I can even recollect this much but I thought Maybe I got off of the roof I went on patrol that on an I d and just the last thing that my brain can register or remember is being on that roof. Those Parts were interrupted by and this will lead to Marines humor. But those thoughts were interrupted by what I thought was someone pouring warm water allergy they get really guy, it is saying, does stay at home for warm water o me right now, but that that fund, Oh peace allowed the other ones to fall into place, and it gave me the surreal an unfortunate realisation that would feeling was now warm water that it will As blood- and I was profusely bleeding out so
with physically how I fell. The Can you by the medical training we get as Marines before deploying an unfortunately, the casualties I'd seen so far on that deployment. With all those combined? I knew that my time was inevitably limited and so Finally, a few moments know what I thought or my final few moments on this earth. I thought, my family, Fifthly, my mother, and how devastated that she was gonna, be that I did not survive to make it home a tiredness that still- ten years later impossible to recount or describe week has sinned red fibre of my being I
said, acquit prayer for forgiveness and anything. I've done wrong in my life and aid from consciousness in the world. On that hot dusty rooftop and I woke roughly five weeks later with snow outside of my hospital room window. On the other side of the world, and my first sight was slowly opening. All I had left to Christmas a that were hanging out my hospital room wall that my mom had hung a sheet. Of course, was hopefully in lovingly preparing for me too. Our wake up and have life again Tell me what your friend what you found out, what you did to me your friends in Europe. Your comber Marines said you did the
I guess the first moment that anything came up about what I did or my actions on the roof that day still early on in the hospital it was in the February and I spare from November twenty Eightth when I arrived at Walter Reed through that January, so a couple months later, And once I got through the lights. How to keep em breathing life saving steps once I was a little bit more stable, I'm down to what kind of Polly trauma unit to spend more, Fine, all third, in pay it might than the hospital down there was offer my tree. The ventilator most the tubes or out of me, and I was able to get up and start walking around going to therapy speech
european things like that. More follow on steps in the immediate care, and it was one of my last few days in the hospital, and I have no idea how I made to the mall. While I was in the hospital by it and it wasn't to go shopping by it. I think it was more just to get with my their best and get some fresh air start think about. You know that transition out of the hospital you know is going to be in the hospital. For many years, but ah transition to more the outpatient side of things and stuff, regaining my life again but I was about to leave Richmond Virginia. That pie. Try me, and I was sitting in the food court at the mall. And my good Buddy Griffin, Welsh called me Griffin, good, oh boy from Mississippi, did, Or combat unemployment and got out or
get even enjoy his first legal beer at twenty one and so on. It was both of our first combat deployments with each other, and he had call me and sit in there all wrapped up and ban. Is that the moss? he told me, that the marine saw and knew what I did And they loved me and they believe that. At least from their just boots on the ground perspective there with me they believe that I, Should be and that they were going to I can mainly for the now of That said, we hang, Phone com: and four years until I got any further cause. I did not think about it, one more time for one more second, and you still don't really know what you had done, what they claimed you had done, or did he tell you what they were saying you did.
I. It's so strange because I could not have recounted the pieces imparts right but in a way. And I'm never really brought us because it so. Unofficial there was no point I mean this cannot when I'm about say, could not have been a factor in the very extensive and thorough two year or two hundred and fifty page, Official investigation, Dunbar and the Marine Corps military but I do remember, as My body was a show and I had no, no, Cognitive abilities. I do remember. Being on my knees, and moving forward towards something. Now again, this is just
plays into the strangeness of it because I don't remember seeing the grenade or thinking about it. But I do remember, Empty shell of me following ford- and I remember I had to guess being in just knowing my body in and playing sports in rough housing, my whole life and my brothers and friends I fell- I was just a few inches from landing on my face on the ground face first, And I remember having just those few inches before I got before I, Like I got really hard in the face with something and so in a way I vaguely remember, may be going through the motions. But again I don't remember thinking about it and they told me that an
we hung up the phone, I think them they told me they were proud of me. I told him that I appreciate it and that I would see him soon and you know that was it and I I got on with my my recovery in my life While the truth is that you, through yourself on the grenade to threats to save every one else, hand. I wanted to start there because I think some people would say. That was the defining moment of your life, but I don't think it is. I think. It's so unnatural for someone to do that. That you had to have defining moments in your life way before. That would make that just an automatic movement. Does it make sense to have slowly? So I want to talk about the defining moment of your life.
Had to have happened before the grenade. What were they? What what what makes a man autumn ethically, do that- have you Found those planets I appreciate you bring this up, and that is. Compared to many other interviews and. People's opinions, that survey found insight because you're exactly right always about that moment and that moment it defines it for me and- and there is not too much emphasis on the before or the things which are most proud of that I've done since yeah, but What for. But, like I told you on the book. My foundation, like many peoples,
came from my family. And the, people that I chose to surround myself with growing up and the people that. Think for ages happened to our paths crossed. From coaches to teachers the first part of it, is my family. I think, first and foremost, just always truly loving and supporting me. From being there, every single sector. From the moment I was born. From every single second. From the moment that I woke up and In a way, born again into this bonus round that I'm leaving now and For them to always
encourage me and my brothers to not only. Find out who we are in the way in time that we need to but to not in here, The US in any way, and even If the goals are aspirations are seemingly unrealistic or unattainable, the timer altogether, too, make us feel we could accomplish, says things and achieve what I really wanted to. As long as we were good people. Who worked hard and gave back to others. And so it starts there. But then you go to those other people that helped shape me.
Football baseball coaches, my teachers, my my friend, And always people that are worth supporting me my whole life, but with that sad and I was hesitant to write so much about my parents and my family in the bow because I wanted this book too. Not only transcend all boundaries but two everyone to pick it up, understand it and be able to take from it, and I didn't want to turn any one off from it. And I know that I'm very fortunate and a lot of people are now Born into. The best home life or they don't have to loving parents that are, Every baseball game so I struggle with their and and
I ended up going with it, because you know four As people that don't get there, I wanted to give an example of the love that You can give us a parent and what you can make it through, but. All of those other people, my friends and coaches and and all of those people in life every experience every person every interaction. We have, everything is an opportunity. And even the bad things that even the bad things you can learn ages. Maybe, more importantly, exactly exactly you can learn just as much an bad from people and so on. I was aware of it And I dont believe our realize it at the time, but now looking back, I'm so thankful that.
With every person friend. Then I made ah. Every person I worked with three in the chicken plant my boss is: there always tried to? Why do said? Look Ok, if this point and is it the way I want to add carry myself lead people in the workplace I chose to try to take something from everyone and build upon their and think about it. And so With my family's foundation and all those incredible people and the people that taught me how I may be didn't, wanna condemn myself in my life that Along with the third and very important
factor into this is is Marines. Starting out as recruits going to boot, camp. From the moment you pull In that then- and there Then doors ripped open by the scarce human being. It ever seen you no one's got their hair cut year. One's got their uniforms everybody stress differently,. But you get out of the van very quickly and you stand on this yellow footprints. And from that moment, for the next Thirteen weeks a boot can, next. Four years of your career. For thirty years. During boot came as a marine. You're leaders in your men tours in your chain of command,
drill instructors. You are, People think it's your training They're always doing grenade fate, grenades everywhere in you're, having a jump on em and It's not like that. I really don't even remember ever doing that. What it is, is there, teach you through. Your history in your legacy. When you're doing that final crucible event of boot can't to earn that evil global anchor? It Fifty four culminating fifty four hour culminating event of everything you ve learned trained to do. No sweet, little food ear
as always, are in the Marine corps: cold, wet, Hungary and absolutely miserable, but in those moments in your going through all of these obstacles in the crucible and am when you're the most run down but we need the most. Your drill instructors, stop you and every Obstacle there's a plaque tells of thee. Courageous and superhuman marines- came before you. Those generations of Marines that as seventeen eighteen, nineteen years old, when no one made them day. Not only razor right hand like air. Generation has so amazingly dawn, raise your right hand. They On those landing crass, we're told you are probably not even going to make it have a chance to get out of that. Leaning crap
And if you do. There's just love a chance that you're gonna make it onto the beach or pass the beach. Those Marines at cover grenades for their fellow Marines in Vietnam,. The Marines that die. Adam froze to death fighting in Korea to try to give those people like it. Afghanistan a better way of life. Wake up one day and just taste, peace, Freedom and hope and so. To hear these stories. I just remember sitting there and thinking first of all how in Second of all, you know. It it just makes. You realize the uniform that that you have on and the, The legacy and the sacrifice encourage,
again generations that have warned that uniform in came before you. So with all of that said that down the roof. Even I don't remember the moments leading up to our or thinking about it. I think I am proud that ice. At the door, surprise, you that you'd be or of that mindset tat. I Does it looking not being able to recognise that you did that not having no memory of that Does it surprise you that? Who did that? Yes,. Absolutely and. But. The beautiful thing about it is. Ah,
and this is the way in the book by. People tell me all the time I just don't think I could have done what she did, Even I don't think I could over grenade, even from my closest loved ones. I just don't think could bring myself data. Ironically, the last conversation I was having before we got here with my body on the roof? Is what happens because we have been eating attack for non stop the twenty four hours leading at this moment by it what happens when they throw a grenade up here after he to lighten the mood because it had been eerily quiet for the four hours leading up to this attack, But he said: hey off the roof, and I said I'm right behind you.
Just this book as a whole, as a whole. Is a journey of the human spirit and those moments on the roof. Show that The beauty in the human spirit is, You never know how, when to what capacity you're going to step up for your fellow man for your fellow human and Dave or small, how you're going to be a Savior and a hero to those around you, so I I think some of the people who talk big game, and You know you would expect to be heroes. Some of them will not be Others that you would never expect to do this miraculous thing do
I brought my kids to Auschwitz years ago because I believe the world is heading towards just catastrophe and hatred and and Groups in all of this stuff and said to them this is when people decide they're gonna do and who they're gonna be It's! Never in the moment, stammered the moment you it's not like you ever thought. Am I gonna jump on a grenade, but it was those things that you did to know who you really are. What you believe who you were. You know who you fight for and end And who your teammates are around you and then is just automatically kicks in you think that's true or not, clearly every. Completely agree: Which is why you are surprised that you did it, because it wasn't you weren't thing you're, not thinking. Oh Jesus, oh really, I might,
it just happens. Absolutely not going off our what you just said. I think you really Take any aspect of life and Very few things are ever in the moment do things ever come up with the ability to have. Of preparation beforehand, and many times By not know exactly where those steps will take you clearly. But I think you're exactly right. I think it's it's. Very rare. If ever just so Finally, in the moment in, and only in the moment, ass, what our moms we're trying to say, I think when they say showing your friends or show your future, it's not that They're going to drag you down there and then else, but your training yourself to think like that. To be like that, to accept that, and if
That's how your training yourself to be? That's! generally, who you will be. I was struck by. You know your name if your book is, you are worth it. But building? a life worth fighting for. I dont. Most people understand. I think only those who have had real struggles. Your stand, that life and every of it is a choice. And if you just let it happen to you you're probably gonna not be very fulfilled and happy in your probably an end of the little bitter But if you understand, I Only a product of what I, choose to build life, hinges. Did you understand that
before your grenade. Where was absolutely you discovered after that? Ok, Now I have this massive issue, and I'm you have to rebuild. I think I understood it about as well I think I understood it. Just about as well as any. Teenager. Growing up a good, I saw that file work hard. After football field and the way room. That translated to The lights turned on us he ahead of time, which is all
is a struggle for, on most kids grown up, the its Coralie in the classroom. And so. I think I understood it a little bit but that I actually realise it in and think about it, maybe not but after is where I inside an purse, active. Because. Those trials and tribulations came. I got knocked down At times I was forced to sell through the darkness for those silver linings, those things members of hope by Your question I think, most mostly after you It's interesting, you know we're just talking about you. Dont know who you're going to be. You know It appears to me you,
to heroes in your life, at least to heroes in your life to mom and dad, and in the book you talk about how. Dad kind of fell apart when he first heard about it. Mom was strong That we know it was mom was fell apart and dad was strong and then they got to the hospital, may first saw you. Dad fell apart, and mom of sudden step to the plate is it, team effort- yeah very hard one. That is a good one and it worked out. How did- your parents, help you through all of this. Did you have what were you. What are you feeling about? Your life me is alive people would go my life is over What were you feeling when you became really aware in the hospital what you are facing.
So I really started to wake up and become aware, It would be easy to think and maybe a lot of people when they instantly negative and this is so detrimental I woke up and became more more loose, more. I will go. He came more more lucid. Every single realisation or every single injury that I had. just made me more More and more thankful surprised. And really shot that I was alive. So did you have a moment we? Where did the grenade go off on here, and the upper right, How did you live.
Yeah they're, still there's even still a hole in the roof that you can find on Google earth from and that was that was par. That to your investigation along. With the eye witnesses? Ah, they Raw, a post, blast analysis, team, closer Voronezh Disposal team analyze forensically my gear in the roof born. The pieces in that investigation was. Things in life forces take the path of least resistance, and my body armor, backed by my body weight was stronger and more dance than the route, so their grenade actually blue down through the route while, and so they found me face down, base furs. In the creator and
with the seat of the blast where it exploded under me by religious guy I am, were you religious before then I was so there has to be something that goes on in your head with a guy who doesn't it prone to thinking poor me there. Ass, to be what was I saved for yeah? And now. Ay after all, it is a lot of you we'll think there. Oh you Your faith in your religion must be stronger than ever incompletely unshakeable. Now and ah I don't
But we any worse, but one went through as Unfortunately, planted in giving me more questions than I had before. Because when I. When I closed my eyes, what I thought was the last time and The lights went out. It wise. I can even say darkness, because I feel TAT, no darkness, you have tat Have a kindness thought process, so I guess the only way I can the least right now accurately described. It is just nothing avoid, avoid exactly and ah you are aware of the void.
I woke up correct and so now is resuscitated three times when I got first combat trauma hospital. In my medical wreck, on paper it, p beside my name pulseless electrical activity and so in. I I'm sorry like with many of the thinking about that. And why With many of the daunting and tough impossible questions of life I think the way the reason they are those questions is because the time, no matter what we do. Maybe just living and figure out figuring out those answers as we continue on them. Come to us, but I think they are a lot of times the daunting in difficult questions. Because no matter what we do, we can't
have an answer or we can't rush. Those answers have to find. It are self. Exactly. Faith is an important part exactly, but Why bother you mean you don't remember doing it? What happened you remember all of that. Why has this void bothered you? Why? Do I m just transit, you don't remember so much why do you just remember that so vividly and clearly. I think, like much of my journey, it's been a. An evolution. Mental physically and emotionally. And so the first few years after everything happened. I was frustrated that I couldn't remember the actual moment I was probably amplified
times a hundred, because not because I Just organically frustrated. But the entire world, Terry and Teams of people out there were, from the ground and Afghanistan to the Pentagon were looking into scrutinising newspapers media Everyone was looking into these views, seconds of my wife that As much as I wanted to, could not probably Was never going to be able to remember. And so it was it. First, three soon that ours worried that one story might come out and then another story, and then I might seem like, even though, I didn't really even have testimony or a word, and all of this then this might seem,
Illegitimate legitimate, but then I thought you know my Marines out were there with me, no matter what happens. They know who I am person. I am, and just one day thinking about it, I finally it just hit me, and I realized. How wrong of aid mindset and a thought process. This was that I should just be so Unbelievably great foreign thankful that I woke up the even be frustrated this and that I'm alive, and so from that Sir get that I had that realisation on. Never once got first radiator been out about not being able to remember those events again so as part of their frustration because I think I'm hearing you say because you couldn't remember it. You were afraid this was a fraud. No. It's just on.
Or you were unworthy wound in a newspaper tsars. Articles came now and the tiles were dead, Lance purple carpenter cover this grenade or not. So to was all that talk going on and then, The marine corps and investigators had called me or call work, Talking terror, one that was there and just those just so much rhetoric going on just about Moments in my life that I myself didn't have so think it wishes makes of everything, and where was it so much the fraud thing? It was just that again. I couldn't contribute to. These many in my own wife,. You feel like you deserve the medal of honor. SL or feel worthy of it.
I am. I'm proud of how I stepped up a friend and marine when I needed to be. And beautiful. Of a burden and heavy as the metal? Is its responsibility, I am her more than I have platform tat. I can used to connect with Encourage and help others, and also educate and bring to lie. So many stories
There wasn't metal of honours, it was because no one around them survive to tell the tale or. Somewhere in some crazy paper process, maybe just didn't happen so you realize that's the way somebody who's worthy of that metal would answer that question. That is another are thinking point. I need to go to Brainstorming on but. Talk me a little bit about. In your recovery process. You talk about in the book how we're going go on a mud run near time about skydiving in. And mom and dad or like So now please taught and
you get to this point where you like? I can't be afraid you talk rather well. Well, you have to do this to me. My Marty says that for the rest of her life should be funding her hair color, so but, yes and we specifically speaking about the moderation And looking back now, it is still makes me a little nervous thinking about some of those very high slippery muddy obstacles, While I was doing those how wrong that could have gone, by going into that, might run. And I was only maybe half way through my three years of recovery, but I Leading up to that might on I really
sat down and always try to day about things deeply and really self, reflecting. Not only on Whereof Dan, But also where I'm going. And as I was thinking about that Mandarin still surgeries left to go. I just thought. No, if I don't do this, what Since that can lead to an This is part of you building yourself back up right, to join at like a short thing, didn't shoot enjoys. Can Heaven. Like I m sure I M little guy and you know, Why things that's just ass? She s obvious us easy at everything I had to make it known by. But you had to kind of do things too.
Make sure that you were like now. It's doesn't stop me from doing anything so you're now back at that place, except with different reasons for saying your eye growing up on the football field and in the way remit as I dare not that I have Is put it out there hey this small guy, that strong to prove something, but when I did pre something it was rather than to the technical data, guys that were above five five right, but Not only was I thinking, ok,. If I don't do this, what will that lead to, but also if I do break my arm. Is that better than not doing it and living with that regret they're just working their job, process like that, but in I did it and I did not need another one, but I very thankful I did, and I
a slight many, parts of my journey do that challenge pushing myself through that- Especially during my time, the hospital when I was still discovering myself In building this new life, it taught me And it taught me that I can do more than I think I can right now and I'm not you know, Just getting back to this new banged up person. I'm getting back to. You knew. Potentially even you're in better me in Kyle. So are you there? Are you a better? Are you this sounds so bad. But I understand,
My father taught me this when I was young after my mom had a suicide Nina she's treatment, suicide and our family divorce blob, apply reading scorned by the time I was thirty. I was like who bore me, and My father taught me that, in a very clever way that there is no bad it's out which what you do with it, and so I look it all the tragedies you know and I think. Well, I wouldn't want to go through that again and I wouldn't sign that somebody. It made me who I am and I'm a better stronger person because of my failures or because of whatever are you a better person today, then you were Absolutely and I would not. Trade anything that I've been through even that moment on the roof. Now I wish I could have taken, Higher blast and Nick I walked away.
Quickly unharmed and completely fine, any Then, if I wouldn't have woken up in the hospital five weeks later, yes, they are even The grenade wasn't thrown on the roof. Ah. No, I We are grateful for the grenade. I am wow. Because who I am now. You know just dinner and I said fishermen sense. Seem pretty selfish. The experiences I've had the People I met the journey at hand has been incredible. So do you ever watch tv or listen to people
that are constantly whining about how their life is so bad in. You know Gretta Third Bergen. I don't want to get in the names and stuff, but you know six your kid- you stole my childhood, do you ever just watch people on tv and go are you kidding me? Are you kidding me. I went through this and I am happy and I am I actually don't. I don't think I want my grenade, my life to be gone and your bitching about your grenade, That's a good thing. You ever. Are you always just very empathetic, unkind both those and it's a healthy manner, both by it? one thing I realised through my journey is. Struggle.
Is the last thing we should ever compare. And although its may natural to cause you you can't not. When you hear other struggles, you, obviously forget about your struggles by ah I think, to compare struggle. Or who has it worse or he's been through more is a very dangerous thing. And can lead to, very Healthy things in a very unhealthy mindset, but various orator cannot illustrate. This is My three years, a Walter Reed. I use my last six eight months there, which was just met Medical board paperwork process too.
Allow me to medically retire. I completed all my surgeries and therapy and I use my time towards the end there to do to internships and start working on re doing my essay tee in a city. Tat, writing, college missions, paperwork attitude or start coming to the hospital to help may be that and so after three years in the hospital right before that out to machine guns to Afghanistan, to after I left the hospital. I was moving into and my new apartment in Colombia, South Carolina and walking to freshmen classes and daily If not daily Weekly This came up to me and it just obviously was much more daring must,
a four year after I received the metal by it. So many times They run up and say ah you're the guy that won the purple heart, oh, I know, but I didn't enter the annual when her Barak, hypertension, you and also. You realize that, probably by the way, you're asking you don't know the difference between the medal of honor in the purple harm by. At during those moments on thankful that I realized I d take Deep bread a couple of times and I had to realise that, just like we said at the beginning, every encounter every. Opportunity. Every crossroads in life, good or bad is a choice, at present you at the choice. And in tat moment,
could I have got First Sheridan told him. Now what I could have in marine aggressive, like manner but not only would that probably turn them. For me, but it would have you know I give them what they You might think is an idea of how all Marines are. They would it. Have gotten properly educated on the difference between the purple heart in the knell of honour and the fact that we don't set To win these metals notes, interest it was empty that changed the purple heart. We didn't discover the purple heart that comes from the back of merit from Washington in the revolutionary war. It was the first
award given too and enlisted men in the history of battle and it was actually a purple heart and it said on merit- and you so it to your uniform and you were put in to his, I think- was the book of Remembrance because he believed that if we were going to win again, England We had to be people that were good an honourable and decent, and if you were caught doing something of merit, if you were doing something good, that's how you got the purple heart we only rediscovered this. Turn of last century there's only three purple arts left from the revolutionary war and and Book is gone, but. You did earned the purple heart, not just not the just the way
Not not the way that The FDA are from there point on says it But you earned it the way Washington did. We didn't have a medal of honor back then was the purple hard you deserve both of them for. Now and back them You write right in your book. I want to report. Not long ago and walking down town in Colombia, pass to homeless. Man talking on the street came from a meeting was dressed up and one of them said kindly lookin sharp brother. I thank them And I admit I waited for the follow up question. If I had any money, but, as I continued walking. Nothing else who said,
I reached my car, but I couldn't shake him from my mind. Half my brain was telling me to turn around and talk to him and the other half was tell me just to forget about it and drive away stood there with a car door open wrestling with myself. What I should do It seems silly to walk all the way back there, I couldn't get into my car. I didn't know what I was doing, but I to myself. This is the last time you see this nice man I think we as people have this thought the time all the time and we have that argument in our head all the time. And most of us ignore it put it. Makes a difference. If you act on that: an exercise that muscle every time doesn't it absolutely and you never know. What
touching moments or. Impact impact. And just powerful. For me, a motion I mean that story shut out to my man. Can you by the way, but emotional, I mean that that story still It's me out because we go, winter to talk and he ask me offered to go get him. Some snacks at their college, marked out the street He asked me hey Can you get me some cigarettes and immediately pointed out that he doesn't smoke so coarse at that Can you are you cigarettes? If you don't smoke and He told me that cigarettes are like gold down at the homeless, shelter that he can so each one for two dollars. And then that allows him to yet more food for
the days ahead. And so on. So thankful idea in an erotic, Think we are presented with the limited opportunities, Situations all the time and I'm just proud of myself, but I am thankful that I didn't shut the car door and I turned around because taught me a. A valuable life lesson, and that just reminded me that no one is life? Is. Not only choices, but it's. Something that you choose the lenses you look through and you. We always have to strive to contain,
need to remind ourselves and Stan and emphasise that. There are so many people. In this country around the world, that. Wake up every day and an from not knowing what school is to not having shoes on their feet. To not knowing where their next meal is going to come from. And so to do There is a difference between kindness, being gracious being helpful even been carrying. And empathy. Empathy is I've,
Lived it I know it, I can feel your pain I see it, but I can feel it Think your journey has. Given that to you or if you always had that end, had excited. I think I've always had it but my journey has heightened it. And continuously finds it might not be there, the perfect word, but I think everything I think this is. I think it's like a muscle The more you listen to that voice and you make the choice of don't get, into the car Stronger. Yeah and and maybe a really started. When I was in high school. I went on the mission trip to the Dominican Republic and for a week there we built a couple.
Schools and churches and just hung out with the Local kids play soccer, but. It was so choose So profound me when we got there. And we were walking in making our way too. This neighborhood. Where we were going to to help and work as we got closer, we were working our way down into a landfill. We get to the bottom of this landfill and there are shared all over the place The people there now We could they have not been happier nay amazing showing every day of their lives, but so happy, just so thankful for us to bring a soccer ball too,.
And so I think I've always then. Pathetic, growing, But when that happened, that real planted that seed of empathy- and I I to truly see not everywhere in the world, is South EAST of the United States growing up And sound so light many, my journey, I'm searching for for that, but you That's very interesting, it is like a muscle. I would agree with you thing from your book. For weeks afterward, I would wake up wondering now what, every morning started with a question for which I didn't have an answer up to do whatever. The next thing was that day I d veil developed a daily mantra. I still say something somewhere to myself each morning.
I dont know what I want to do or how I'm gonna do it or where I might end up But as long as I work hard try to do the right thing, try to be a good person and try to help people I go wrong. Doing that you, kind of dismiss that is, you know you say it's not the profound piece of wisdom, it you know ever been uttered, but I think This is why your story is so important and impact full is. It's really back to basics. We ve lost the basics. I was raised believing that Black people don't believe that anymore, but if you just work try to do the right thing behind people things work. We could n
On top of their, I think it's port to remind people that you don't always had to have a perfect plan one a lines and in my book is the smallest of stout eventually completes the grandest of journeys and after that First initial, three months, a recovery at Walter Reed and Virginia. At the time. Instead of going back up to Walter Reed. Play two thousand ten through two thousand eleven there were so many casualties come in that at one point they started. Overflowing beds into the hallway In every room had to patients in it. And so knowing that I had many years left for them too Humpty dumpty back together again
They allowed me and also getting to know my family over those months. As initial months said, I was there, we met my family was gonna, really look out and take care of me in they allow me to go home to recover. From March until that set timber, eighty thousand eleven when a new very nice wounded, Warrior Barracks building was gonna open up on Walter Reed that they are currently under construction. And so it was March April timeframe and It was around ten o clock at night another long day of there being an arm. Anyone listening to tackle FI the agreement was that I could go home and recover get.
Arms food hang out. The dog lay on the couch as long as we agreed that mom would drive me back two DC every two weeks to get another surgery and I would do therapy at my local clinic in Lexington South Carolina. And I was at home again at ten o clock at night and I went to. Take on the daunting task, making myself a bowl of cereal. And at the time. I hadn't had the nerve surgeries to repair those water now what connections, but at the time were. Breaks in my nerves, so my wrists hung really bad I was down on my way now muscle in my arms. Might as well then hundred pound dumbo,
Got it now, I poured the cereal by it. There was a struggle to hold the spoon. The grenade blue, most my teeth out, and I was still many facial and oral reconstructed surgeries away from having any sort of form or He's in there, because my face was damaged so badly. The nerves of myself and my face were severed as well, and so I finally champion the task mission accomplished. I made the bullets cereal. But I was only half the battle now I had to try to eat it in your kitchen counter and Can't really feel it, but I know milk is going everywhere. And. In tat moment, I completely broke. I mean to my core
And I know it was because not only was are frustrated with the task at hand, but for the pre These three or four miles I had been so strong, Forcing myself to be so strong and positive, not show any pain, put a smile on my face every day, because I'm the one that joint I raised my right hand now My parents are visibly suffer Through this burden of recovery with me and that that has been by far the hardest part of my whole journey seeing them on the other side of that hospital bed. As a caretaker window warrior or not, I think at times it harder to be on the other side. Of that, then too, to not be able to help with the pain, to see that person nine debris through that tube and straw and their neck every breath to see
the tears com because the pain. Probably since I joined the Marine corps. And so I ve been so strongly in that moment. It was also the first time. Probably since I joined the marine corps that then completely by myself. In silence only me by vain that body, thoughts that were in my head and the ringing in my ears. Inside completely broke, my mom ran issues in the other room in the living room. She rushed and she thought I was in pain. Asking me what happen what's wrong: through the sobs. I just choked out look at me who's ever gonna love me again, but in life
many times. The most difficult of times. Teach us the most beautiful of lessons. And some so thankful. I decided to try to make that cereal Anita and how so thankful that I broke in that moment, because It gave me a life long lesson and realisation that I still carry with me every single day that I present to everyone anyone I talk to people at read the book and this is going to be attacked pill to swallow. For some people. But we have to realise that no matter what happens in life. No matter how hard you get knocked down were blown up.
You cut out the noise. Any truly only have Two choices, two options. And that is, This is what I'm so thankful. I realized. You can either get up Take that small step. Or you're gonna sit back kitchen counter for the rest of your life. And again you don't have to have a perfect plan. To know exactly what you're doing what the next day holds were even next hour? of therapy and that session holds all after know is again. The small steps eventually completes the grandest of journeys and you You can You might be physically and mentally and emotionally different. After getting knock down
Even if you are it's completely okay, we all have our own you. Struggles. We all heel and our own time by even after getting knocked down, if your physically mentally emotionally different, you can Still come back better stronger than you were before you may be missing and I you might have. Allowed sir claw for a hand by. You can come back and run a marathon jumper. The plane. Run a mushroom enjoy your mom, crazy k to struggle, It's ok to not be the same. And what they said exactly what you're saying earlier work From those times did she get knocked down in those hard moments.
Learn who you really are. Learn and no and realise that you can push yourself passed any limits that he thought where your limit. You can. Always strive become the best Version of yourself, it's Honor to talk to you thank you very much honour to meet you and I can't wait to see what your life is like in ten years. Ten years from now. Here, the journey has just become commonplace.
I appreciate that sir. Just a reminder: I'd love you to rate and subscribe to the podcast and asses on to a friend, so it can be discovered by other people.
Transcript generated on 2020-04-03.