Life Lessons Part 4 & 5 - Creed and Compassion

By Mojo Rider

Another installment of Lt. Col. Guy LoFaro's speech at the US Military Academy:

The VALUE OF A CREED

Lesson Four

And then you're a major and you're back in the 82d - your home. And one day some SOB having a bad week decides it's time to take it out on the world and he shoots up a PT formation. Takes out 20 guys. You're one of them. A 5.56 tracer round right to the gut. Range about 10 meters. And you're dead for a little while, but it's not your time yet - there are still too many lessons to learn.

And you wake up after five surgeries and 45 days in a coma. And you look down at your body and you don't recognize it - it has become a receptacle for hospital tubing and electronic monitoring devices. You have a tracheotomy, so there's a huge tube going down your throat and you can't talk, but that thing is making sure you breathe. And there's a tube in your nose that goes down into your stomach - that's how you eat. And there are four IVs - one in each arm and two in the veins in the top of your feet. There is a tube through your right clavicle - that's where they inject the high-powered antibiotics that turns your hair white and makes you see things. But disease is the enemy now and it's gotta be done.

And there are three tubes emerging from three separate holes in your stomach.They are there to drain the liquids from your stomach cavity. It drains into some bags hanging on the side of your bed. And they've shaved your chest and attached countless electrodes to monitor your heartbeat, blood pressure, and anything else they can measure. They have these things stuck all over your head as well, and on your wrists and ankles.

And your family gathers around, and they are like rocks, and they pull you through. But there's also a guy, dressed in BDUs, with a maroon beret in his hand, who stands quietly in the corner. Never says anything. Just smiles. And looks at you. He's there every day. Not every hour of every day, but he comes every day. Sometimes he's there when you wake up. Sometimes he's there when you go to sleep. He comes during his lunch break. He stays an hour, or two or three. And just stands in the corner. And smiles. No one told him to be there.

But he made it his place of duty. His guard post. You see, it's your Sergeant Major, and his Ranger buddy is down, and a Ranger never leaves a fallen comrade. And you learn, through this man, the value of a creed.

Part Five

COMPASSION


And every four hours two huge male nurses come in and gently roll you on your side. The bullet exited through your left buttock and made a hole the size of a softball. The bandages need to be changed. Take the soiled wads out and put clean ones in. And a second lieutenant comes in. She seems to be there all the time. She's the one changing the bandages. And it hurts like hell, but she, too, is smiling, and talking to you, and she's gentle.

And you know you've seen her before, but you can't talk - you still have that tube in your throat. But she knows. And she tells you that you taught her Military Art History, that now it's her turn to take care of you, that she's in charge of you and the team of nurses assigned to you, and she won't let you down. And you learn about compassion.


From other internet postings about LoFaro, he was almost fatally injured in a shooting at Fort Bragg in 1995. http://edition.cnn.com/US/9510/sniper/am/index.html

A lot of times, you might hear what is taken as platitudes or cliches. But if it's put into practice, it becomes an ideal. Again, it might be much different trying to follow a corporate slogan if you're in the private sector. But there are ideals that maybe corporations should really cultivate as part of their culture. Things like dedication, integrity, honesty.
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