An Open Letter to Veteran Amputees Just Living Their Lives: You Don’t Have to Climb Mt. Everest to be Our Hero
The media loves stories of veterans who take on an enormous goal after being wounded in combat. The spotlight shines brightly on heroic feats such as climbing the world’s tallest mountains, running across a whole state or even the entire country, or competing in the Paralympics. We admit, we love these stories too. These tales, and the warriors within them, are inspirational. They give us something to shoot for; a reason to feel like everything’s going to be okay, and that anything is possible.
At Next Step, we are a big proponent of these achievements. We will always support those who strive to go after huge goals and achieve their dreams. That said, the reality is that these individuals are a small percentage of the population. The mountain conquerors and gold medal winners are not representative of all veterans, or all amputee men and women, or any other group of people. They are individuals who have chosen and followed a specific kind of journey. They have focused on a goal and walked a path that works for their individual lives.
While that’s wonderful for them and we support them every step of the way, we realize this is not a realistic path for many of the thousands of veteran amputees in the world. The majority are not trying to scale mountains and win gold medals. They just want to play ball with their kids, dance with their spouses, and do well in their careers. They are happy to enjoy their hobbies without pain or discomfort, or simply relax at home with friends.
To all of the veteran amputees out there who have served our country, and now simply want to enjoy life, we thank and respect you. We feel immensely grateful that you are here with us, and we wish you all the best in your personal journey.