- Posted December 18, 2012 by
Iraq/Afghanistan Vet visits Sandy Hook to pay respect & offer his Medal to Victim
Forgive me for I'm not a writer. I have completed 4 tours of duty in Iraq & Afghanistan. Upon hearing the news of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary I struggled on what I could do. I suffer from PTSD & I'm dealing with the "red tape" of getting the proper help I need. As a 14 year member of the United States military I signed up for this duty, but the innocent students & faculty of Sandy Hook did not sign up for this, they as well as the nation could never imagine the events that took place on this day. Suicide rates are at an all time high for returning military members & a stigma is placed on us as soon as we reach out for help. I have been battling the demons of war for years until recently I have come forward to get the proper help I need. Anyway, that I guess is a little background of my history to give you a better understanding of where I am coming from & why I felt the need to show my grief & love to all the victims, but to also help with my own healing process. I worked in the education system, I worked with a child with Autism, I have seen the innocence in a child's eyes, & the passion of educators & their love & commitment to their students. I wanted to help, I had to somehow show my respect & admiration for the ones lost in this horrible event. So, as I cried over the last 3 days & nights it came to me. I needed to go to Sandy Hook, I needed to grieve with all of those that have been touched by these unspeakable acts. So, last night I drove to the beautiful town of Newtown, CT. I placed 27 crosses with the names of all victims among the thousands of well wishes & prayers from people from around the country. While laying my crosses down, with tears flowing, in that moment I felt the hands of a stranger gently be placed on my shoulder, no words were spoken, but as I continued to kiss each cross as I laid them down on the ground, a sense of peace came over me. After placing the final cross the hand lifted from my shoulder & when I turned around there was no one standing behind me. I'm not what you would say a religious person, and I realize it was a kind soul that provided me with that moment of comfort, but I felt not only was it this stranger, but it was the hands of the 27 that lost their lives on 14 December 2012.
In 2008 I was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for an Act of Courage while serving in Iraq during my 2008 deployment. Although I was honored, I did not feel I was worthy of such an honor, I just did my job & on top of that I survived. They say the person who goes to war is not the same person that comes back...I didn't believe it "not me" I would say, but I am forever changed, I'm not the son, brother, uncle, friend that I was before I left. However, I'm still here. I hear the heroic stories of the faculty & that of students & members of the community along with all of the first responders. Although I only have 1 Medal, believe me I wish I had 27, but I don't...I ask for your help for me to give my medal to Ms. Victoria Soto & her family. I'm sure you have thousands of stories to read & determine what is "newsworthy" & even if you decide this is not, I still ask for your help in making this possible. She could have never imagined a day such as that tragic day on 14 December 2012, but from all accounts she took action & sacrificed her own life with total disregard for her own safety to protect her "kids", because thats what they were to her, not just students. If ANYONE deserves a medal for an ACT of COURAGE I can not think of a better person than Ms. Soto. I only reached out to CNN with this request & my hope is that you can make this possible.
TSgt Jason R. Miller United States Air Force