Thursday, July 24, 2014
I have incredible respect and admiration for what he had done and true concern for what it had done to him. Marcus Luttrell sat at a table, eating a meal, quietly talking with friends and acquaintances. Operation Red Wings happened in 2005. This was September 11th, 2008. I sat in a banquet room with over 700 other first responders and family. Like the parent of a 2nd grader who had his first part in a school play, I anxiously watched every move and listened to every word. I was so incredibly proud of this man that, until a few minutes earlier, I had never heard of. I was also scared that at any minute he would lose his grip on the podium, or his mind, or his heart. He seemed to be teetering pretty much from the time he stood up to take the stage. This was a man who had undergone some of the most demanding training anyone can go through in order to survive under any possible contingency, but standing there he seemed completely vulnerable. He meticulously described, what seemed to be, every detail of the injuries and eventual death of his three dear friends and comrades. The worst had happened and it took more from him than any man should have to give. I think everyone in the room had the same feelings I had. When Marcus finished speaking over an hour later, the tension from all those knotted stomachs was released like a spring and everyone in the room shot to their feet in unison. Our second grader had just given a heart-wrenching soliloquy. We were proud and relieved. We were also grateful for the sacrifice that everyone involved had made. Not just the brave men who died or watched their friends die, but the sacrifice of the Pashtun villagers who risked everything they loved for a stranger. They risked everything for a code.."Pashtunwali"...a code of honor based on a belief that people are worth dying for. Listening to Marcus bare his soul on that night almost 6 years ago I had no idea that my thoughts and feelings about life and death would be forever changed by this man who, by the grace of God, was the Lone Survivor.