A few weeks ago I found an entry on Micheal’s legacy website. It read
It’s been the greatest honor of my Military career to have met you. I only wish I would have had the chance before pulling you out on 24FEB08. I will always honor you as a hero!
2LT John D. Watrin
Needless to say my heart skipped a beat. I had never heard this man’s name before but I knew he was the one who had pulled Micheal from the wreckage of the blast. It took me a full day to get the nerve up to try and track this man down. I found him on myspace and added him as a friend. I received a message from him the next morning… ” Thank God I found you” We spoke on the phone a few days later.
Before I spoke to him I had no idea who he was or that he was responsible for one of the many gifts I had been given after we lost Micheal. he was the CO of the engineering team Micheal had been escorting that day and would later build the barracks at the FOB and name them for my son.
Lt Watrin shared with me the events of that day in greater detail than anyone. Oh others have given me a over view. Explained the technical things to me but no one had been able to tell me about the details. He was the first to reach my son and heard him crying out for help. He and another man pulled my son behind another vehicle so the Medic could work on him. there was an Iraqi woman and her 3 children near by crying and they were taking small arms fire. He told me that at one point on the side of the road they thought they had lost Micheal but he had seen him move and they fought harder. He told me that once the medic got a nasal tube in Micheal had “perked up” and that was when Micheal looked at him and smiled. He told me that smile shocked him. With the severity of Micheal’s injuries and gun fire going off and all that was going on Micheal could still smile. About a year ago I wrote about my son’s First Sgt telling me Micheal smiling at him and saying “hey” on the way to the Medivac. Now this man confirms what I thought and felt then.. they never broke my son’s spirit. He wins.It’s beyond me how my son found a smile to share but he did and it was so very much who he was. Smiling in the shittiest moments. How many times have I been told ” he could make us smile now matter how shitty the situation”?
Lt Watrin lives with the memories of that day and struggles with them. I hope I have / can comfort him and show him that as horrible as it was my son won in a way that is bigger than just coming home. There is a part of me that wishes very strongly I could take the pain from each one of those men away from them. All I can tell them is that by coming home and living life in a productive and meaningful way they too win a victory over the enemy. They can’t let the enemy break their spirits. And I can’t let the enemy break mine so I will keep fighting and keep taking care of my son’s military family. And when things are at their very worst… I will find a smile to share… just like my son did.