Monday, June 20, 2011

365Beautiful... Day 9 ... Robert... (June 16, 2011)

I actually took this photo yesterday at the game and was split on which one to use as my daily entry, but I thought this was too important not to share, so I'm using this photo today to introduce you all to someone who I met and was moved by. 

When we took our seats at the game, I immediately noticed this backpack in front of me and the man sitting next to it, clutching an aluminum cane. At first I thought he was waiting for someone, but after the first couple of innings it became clear that he was here to enjoy the game on his own. Every once in a while he would respond or laugh at one of our comments about the game or the environment we were in. By the 7th inning, we decided it would be a good idea to buy our new friend a drink, and so leaned over and asked him what he was drinking and so opened the door to hear his story. 

His name is Robert, and as you can probably tell from the photo, he is a Vietnam veteran, serving between 1967 - 1968. His cane helps support his leg, that was shot up in battle. He also dons a tiny camouflage hearing aid makes up for the loss of sound he became afflicted with after an explosion. 

Shrapnel flew all around him and hit his body and face. He turned to me and pointed to several small scars on his chin and cheek as he told me this. 

He received three purple hearts and was sent home in a wheelchair. They told him he wouldn't walk on his own again. 

He picked up his cane and showed it to me. 

"It's hard for me to get up those stairs (in the stadium) but I ain't in no wheelchair though." He said proudly. 

I asked him what he did now and he told me he played guitar with some friends, just for fun. When I asked if he ever had public performances he shook his head. 

"Only for the kids." Robert and his friends play for the kids in the Children's Orthopedic Hospital. He takes bus after bus to get there because they won't let him drive, on account of a seizure he had years back. 

Since he can't work, he's decided to spend his days "doing things." Going to a baseball game, to the park, to play for kids at the Children's Hospital. Anything to get him out of the house and moving around. 

I don't know much more about Robert, but his story was beautiful. 

To all the Roberts of the world,thank you for sharing your stories and your courage with us. 

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