Wednesday, May 24, 2006


“Dad, I’m sorry, but I’ve been hit bad and they don’t think I’m gonna make it.”

Imagine you are a father, and that your son is one of the men fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq to defend the Afghani and Iraqi people, fight terrorism, and protect the world from terrorist aggression. One day you get a crackly satellite phone call from him with that quote. That soldier's name is Joshua Sparling, and his father picks up the tale at The Gun Nutt blog:

I received a call saying he was being sent to Landstuhl, Germany for further treatment. On November 23, 2005, I got a call saying Joshua was being shipped to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I arrived here on November 24th, the same day Joshua did. The doctor in ER wanted to amputate his leg at that point, but it would have been an amputation just below the hip. Joshua said no, so the doctor called in another surgeon, who was on leave. Major Tis, the BEST surgeon in the country in our eyes, told Joshua that he would personally take his case up with Captain Mack and Captain Hagelson, but it was going to be a long hard road ahead. Joshua and I agreed with Major Tis.

On the way to his first surgery on November 24th, the Red Cross gave Joshua a card. Josh thanked them for the card and opened it the next day. The card said, “Have a great time in the war and have a great time dieing in the war.” Joshua hung the card on the wall of his hospital room as an incentive to get well so he could go back to Iraq and finish the job.

Later, this man and his son, in a wheelchair, tried to get a plane flight out, and were stopped at security:

Security would not let us through because we had no boarding pass. We informed them that SPIRIT had our boarding pass and asked that he please let us go to the gate with him and he could verify it, or get someone from SPIRIT and they could give it to him. The security guard said, “You are no different than any other passenger with no boarding pass - no go.”

My son started to cry uncontrollably and told the guard to go to hell. Another lady spoke up and said, “That’s what you get for fighting in a war we have no business in.” Madder and very emotional I asked, “Can’t you remember 9-11?” She responded that was just our excuse to be in Iraq when we should not be there and we deserved whatever we got. That is when my son really lost it. Three WWII vets were coming off flights into DC, gave my son a hug, and stood up to the lady and security guard. They stayed with my son until he flew out.

SPIRIT was not forthcoming with a pass because of obscure circumstances, so they went to Northwestern, their first choice until they saw SPIRIT was $35 cheaper for the ticket:

I went to the Northwest counter and the lady was crying because of what had happened. She told me she was already working on a ticket for Joshua. Northwest offered any passenger a free roundtrip ticket to anywhere they flew, if they would give up their seat for a soldier who was severely injured in Iraq.

EIGHT businessmen came forward and said he could have their seat and no compensation was necessary. Northwest then asked if anyone would give up his or her first class seat for Joshua. A gentleman came forward and said Joshua could have his seat, saying he would sit in the toilet if need be. Other passengers remarked that Joshua could sit anywhere on the plane he wants and we will sit wherever.

That is when I broke down and started to cry. Everyone on that Northwest flight began patting Joshua on the back shaking his hand and telling him what a great job he did and how proud they were of him and the other troops who serve.

Commenters at the site gave their thoughts:
GN - gosh, I'm in tears now...
What a's just unbelievable that somebody could be so cruel.
Josh - you can count on prayers of many people like my family and me.
I mailed a card back in November. Where do I mail another one now?
-by Agnieszka O

Am so glad his dad was with Josh, and he didn't face this trial alone.

Cowards like that woman (not lady) at the airport, are all to anxious to kick someone who is down. So I take it she opposes the American Disability Act too.

The thing that makes a country civilized is defending the weak. Thank God for all of you here who stand together for wounded warriors.

Bless you all.
-by jim b.

Josh needs to KNOW every SINGLE day that there are good people out here who care tremendously, and are beyond outraged that he should be treated with anything less than the deepest respect and honor.

Please, please add me to the list of those who would appreciate an updated mailing address.

His Dad needs his job back. Maybe there's a way that enough light could be shed on all this that might make that happen too. All I know is I am forwarding this on to friends and family and other blogs. Spread the word!
Thank you, so much, Josh. We can all never, ever say it to you enough. But we can d**n sure try EVERY DAY for the rest of your good, long, inspiring life. Hang tough.

Thanks also to Gunnutt and Armywifetoddlermom, and Matt of B5, for bringing this to all our attention.
-by Beth A.

I have to thank a friend for putting me onto your site. This is the most incredible real life story. I hope and pray life improves for you now Joshua. Remember, the minority such as that woman only have one purpose in life, that is to be anti anything and continually mouth off for media attention - they have no real feelings. While they intend to be hurtful, they are not worth the oxygen they breath nor the listening space given by the media, but the majority of people all around the world (even here in Australia) would love to have the chance to meet you and shake your hand. The world is a better place because of people like you.
A grateful Aussie.
-by Colleen Wildman

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Martha said...

"Imagine you are a father, and that your son is one of the men fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq to defend the Afghani and Iraqi people, fight terrorism, and protect the world from terrorist aggression."

This would indeed take quite an imagination if the soldier is in Iraq, where 'getting oil' was the game. Now, it's get out alive, if the US administration and military would cease being so inept.

Anna Venger said...

It is amazing to me how completely without sense the public can be. To treat a soldier who has given so much of his life in service to his country so callously (eg as that woman did at the airport) is beyond comprehension. (Is that the compassion of the Left in action?)

Thank God there are good, decent, and thankful people and that they intervened for this unfortunate soldier and his father.

Very touching story. Thank you. posted a great essay on our soldiers and our nutty society. My system is acting weird or I'd pull up a permalink for you. If you can't find it easily let me know and I'll check when my provider isn't being so tempermental.

GunnNutt said...

Thanks for the link, Chris. This is a cool idea for a blog!

tsk, tsk, Martha. Keep it up and us neocons will never tell you where we fill up on $1.05 Iraqi gas! /sarcasm

Martha said...

"$1.05 Iraqi gas! /sarcasm"

Thought of as realism so few short years ago.

Christopher R Taylor said...

Yeah I wrote about gas prices, its unfortunate what the Clinton Presidency did to our prices, but there's still hope that the regulations and taxes he passed can be reversed.

Muslihoon said...

Good response, Christopher!

Thanks for posting this on your blog. My goodness, the ill manners of some people.

If someone insulted a soldier in my presence like that, I'd punch him/her.

At least there are still many who respect soldiers and their sacrifices.