Recently I have been in the hospital after having a series of mini-strokes or T.I.A.’s. They are brought on from high blood pressure and stress and my entire right side went numb. The good news is that there is no permanent damage, but it is a long recovery because I am still very weak. I am recovering in an assisted living facility. The bad news is that it could be the sign of a regular stroke coming or an underlying disease. I am hoping it’s neither. However, while in the hospital I met a woman who worked in housekeeping and she noticed I had a Desert Storm veteran hat and she said my brother was in that war and never came home. I am constantly reminded of the fact that no matter how low my depression may get, no matter how bad my pain, no matter how bad my problems – there is always someone else who either has it worse or is no longer with us.
The world is full of pain and suffering which lives next door to beauty and passion. It’s been hard for me to see the beauty and passion in things lately with some of the things I have gone through in recent months. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and get caught up in self-pity, but I think that it’s important to try to find a way to rise above all that and do my very best to hold my head high even though it hurts, to smile in the face of adversity, and to laugh when I just feel like crying all day. I refuse to let the bastards who put me in this condition win. I will have my day in court and that day is coming in June – next month. I can hardly wait. My very first hearing with the VA in Detroit.
But getting back to the housekeeper in the hospital; her brother was in the Navy and he supposedly fell of the back of a jeep in Guam and was killed. Her family has always suspected this may have been a cover story for some foul play, but either way he is gone and it was during the war and he saw his share of the war. She gave me the following poem to publish and she said that General Colin Powell, Army (Retired), himself, read it and gave him an award for it posthumously. It is no wonder because it is truly inspiring.
The Kurdish Catastrophe
by CM2 Douglas Lanning, USN
US Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133
I can’t explain all that I’ve seen, but I will do my best to say what I mean
The glow on their faces is almost enough, but you can still tell they’ve had it rough.
You look around, it seems so unreal, and you try to imagine how they must feel.
We came to provide comfort to the people here, they seem to trust us – it’s him they fear.
The leader of so many – Saddam Hussein, has caused their suffering and their pain.
From the land mines that he placed all over the place, to the napalm burns and blisters on a young child’s face.
From the people living out in the street, to the ones in town without power and heat.
From the people washing clothes in the muddy waters, to the many who had to bury their own sons and daughters.
You see a child selling whatever he can, all of this and more because of the man.
I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s all really all true, think about it a second, I’m not even through.
I’ve been to the hospital to visit a small boy, who picked up a hand grenade, thought it was a toy.
You cannot blame him, he’s just a curious kid, I can still remember vividly what his new toy did.
I really can’t believe they were able to save his hand, then I also can’t believe this was once all beautiful land.
The mountains from a distance, an eye-catching sight, they really are beautiful with their snow caps of white.
It’s just sad to think all of the people up there, a quarter million people, but he doesn’t seem to care.
When our operation is finally through, I cannot help but wonder what the people are gonna do.
Will they go on living the way they were before, or will the one man, their leader, kill even more?
I guess that is something only time will tell, from my observation, they’ve been through living hell.