Charles L

On June 8th, 2011 my brother's vehicle was hit by an IED while he was on a mission in Iraq. PFC Matthew England was killed in action. My brother's legs were severely injured, along with massive wounds to his torso and severe burns on his arms. Two of his fellow soldiers and one civilian walked away from the explosion. Unfortunately, my brother was not so lucky. He was conscious after the vehicle was hit and attempted to drag himself to safety. I received a call around 10pm that night from my father, in which he told me that my brother had lost one leg and he had no more information to share. The next day I learned that my brother had to have both legs amputated. I arrived at Walter Reed in Washington D.C. on June 13th. My mother and I entered my brother's room to learn that he was still on life support. We sat by his side and tried to comfort him as much as we could. His eyes began to shift and were wide open when he realized that we were there. He continually attempted to talk, but couldn't because he was incubated. We saw a single tear run down the side of his cheek after my mother told him everything would be fine. The next day, my brother no longer needed life support. The first two things my brother said to me were, "My best friend died and I have no legs." My heart broke in two. How do you comfort a person who just told you two things you would never want to happen? My brother suffered night terrors and constant replays of the accident. Even with all these things weighing heavy on his heart, I never heard a negative word come out of his mouth. On June 20th my brother, Charlie, moved from his bed to a chair, with the assistance of 3 nurses. Once he was sitting upright, I saw his beautiful smile. A smile has never touched me so much. After sitting in the chair for an hour, my brother looked at me and said, "Kimie, joining the Army was the best thing I ever did." What a soldier! People constantly enter my brother's room and thank him for his sacrifice. He always replies, "And thank you for what you do." His spirit lifts me so high and he makes me realize there is still good in this world. My brother has inspired me to help wounded soldiers; I have found my calling. He doesn't think of this change as being negative in any way; in fact, he said, "This is the beginning of my life." He will forever and always be my hero and I am forever grateful for the sacrifice he made to keep our country safe.

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