I met a hero today.
He was sitting on the couch during my son's karate class. Young gentleman, probably mid to late 20's. He's interested in joining the dojo for the mental discipline as well as the physical training. In the course of visiting with him I found out he was a marine. He served in Afghanistan in the infantry and in the course of doing so was shot twice, once in the abdomen.
I've never met a veteran before. Oh sure, when I was in grade school they would parade the geezers from World War II past us with their funny white spats on their shoes as they carried in the flag. But I was young and unaware of...well anything outside the playground.
But this was different. This kid is younger than me. YOUNGER. And yet has seen so much more than I will ever see. Thankfully!
In the course of visiting with me, he told me how hard it has been to maintain body weight and where he was once 175 he now struggles to keep it at 155. :-/ I wanted to make a joke about wishing I had that problem but not being willing to pay that price. But I didn't. Because what he went through for our country isn't funny and it would have been monumentally disrespectful of me to have made that kind of joke to a complete stranger.
He talked about his injury and said that the muscles are no longer in the correct position and lifted his shirt to show me the wound.
I have never seen a bullet wound scar before. Ever. And certainly not one that was taken for me, however indirectly. It was right below his sternum and left a sunburst pattern around a light pink center the size of a quarter.
I wanted to thank him for what he has endured but didn't know how to say the words.