The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.
There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism. – Alexander Hamilton
When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death – that is heroism. – Robert Ingersoll
I had the good fortune and opportunity to come home and to tell the truth; many soldiers, like Pat Tillman… did not have that opportunity. The truth of war is not always easy. The truth is always more heroic than the hype. – Jessica Lynch
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Philosopher and Statesman
This week’s winning essay, The Noisy Room’s Harry’s Heroine Hikes 1,000 Miles For Wounded Troops… She’s An American Warrior All The Way [Video] is a story of heroism, of not giving in. Here’s a slice:
Meet Kirstie Ennis, one of the bravest Americans out there. Her story moved me to tears and I wanted to share it with you.
Kirstie is a 24 year-old Marine Corps veteran who toured in Afghanistan. Her life changed dramatically on June 23rd, 2012 when the massive Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter that she was riding on as the door gunner crashed. She survived, but woke up to a living nightmare that she almost didn’t make it through.
The butt of her gun went through her jaw and ripped it off. She was missing half her face and she was swallowing her teeth. All that happened when her 50-caliber machine gun smashed through the left side of the chopper when it crashed. Her legs and arms were crushed. Kirstie had brain and spinal damage. She thought she was going to die and that it was over for her. They don’t know why the helicopter crashed, but it was fast. When you fall at 150 ft. per second, there’s no time to wonder why. That was the day her career as a Marine ended. It was all she had wanted to do her whole life and now all she wanted to do was survive.
When she woke, she was choking on her own blood in her throat and nose. There was screaming. A medic told her not to close her eyes and stay with him. She knew that if she closed them, she would never open them again. They made it back to Camp Bastion and her long fight began. They really thought she would not make it, but Kirstie is a true Marine… a fighter and she hung on. She was so terrified, she kept throwing up on herself. She knew she would never be the same.
38 surgeries later, Kirstie has her life back. Her left leg has never been right and she lives in constant pain. The doctors wanted to amputate it below the knee this last summer, but Kirstie had one more thing to do before they did what needs to be done and they fit her with a more comfortable prosthetic. She strapped on a carbon-fiber leg brace and declared she was going for a 1,000 mile hike for Prince Harry’s Walking with the Wounded. She walked from Scotland to Britain and found in Prince Harry a kindred soul and a new lifelong friend.
Half a dozen wounded warriors made the trek. Kirstie was the only woman on the walk. She made the amazing journey, pain and all. And when she was done, she knew they would take her leg and she was cool with that. She just wants to get on with her life. It’s been three years since she almost died and they told her she would never walk again. Kirstie had other ideas and proved all of them wrong.
On losing her leg:
I can’t walk more than a quarter of a mile without it and I can’t run. My feeling is if this leg’s going to impede me then let’s get rid of it.
For me it’s about quality of life. I want to have kids one day and be able to run around the yard with them. Having this brace is a constant reminder of what I can’t do.
When I told my doctors I was not going to have the operation until later in the year they were pretty stunned, especially when I told them I was planning to walk 1,000 miles across Britain. It is the hardest thing I’ve done apart from my rehabilitation.
There have been four expeditions of Walking with the Wounded and Prince Harry has been on all of them. He really cares about veterans and I admire him a great deal. The expeditions have visited the North and South poles and Everest. Then there is this one that went from Scotland to Britain. The Walk of Britain has raised a great deal in public donations.
On this hike, the team was made up of British soldiers Stewart Hill, Matt Fisher, Alec Robotham and Scott Ransley, and American former serviceman Andrew Bement, along with Marine Kirstie Ennis. All of them are disabled in one way or another and received their injuries in the line of duty. All of them are incredible heroes and inspirational.
Kirstie looks wonderful these days. Blonde, tan and fit, the only signs that she was horribly injured are a scar on the left side of her face and her leg brace. She has never let being injured rule or destroy her life. She has had three years of intense rehabilitation and speech therapy. She had to learn to speak again. Now, she has a Masters in Business and Psychology. She’s also a stockbroker. She has a boyfriend named Brian, who is also a Marine who was horribly injured in a bomb blast. They’ve been together for a year.
Kirstie is an expert snowboarder and she was just named to the national team for paralympic swimming. She will compete in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games in 2016 for wounded servicemen and women in Orlando next spring:
Confirmation about the national team came through while I was walking with Prince Harry in Norfolk. Harry was really proud and very excited for me. He loves to see veterans excel and overcome their disabilities, that’s what drives him and you can really see that.
Harry met Kirstie at the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013. Those games were the inspiration for his Invictus Games. They became fast friends on The Walk of Britain. Soldiers are instantly brothers and sisters… more than just friends in fox holes, they share a common bond from the battlefield:
He seems so engaged and committed. He wanted to know my story and I felt I could open up to him and that he really listened. It was just like walking with a friend, or a brother.
The military is a family in that respect. It’s a brotherhood. It really meant something to have Harry walk with us. There were no feelings of superiority. We spent two days together, one walking in Shropshire where we kicked a ball around with [former American football star] Dan Marino which was pretty surreal and another day walking in Norfolk which was so beautiful and very special. There were no cameras that day and I told Harry about my time at Camp Bastion because we were serving in the same place at the same time.
We talked about our shared love of aviation and I asked him when he knew he wanted to be a soldier.
He said from when he was a little boy and that it had always been his dream and that the military has been the greatest thing for him. I was the same when I was a kid. All my dolls were dressed in Marine Corps clothes.
He’s so down to earth and very easy to get along with and he fitted right in with the group, especially with Scott (Ransley) who is blind in his right eye. He’s also very kind and when people came up to say “hi” he made the time for them, especially the kids and you could see it really made their day.
Much more at the link.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Mike Adams at Townhall – Get Out of My Class and Leave America submitted by Bookworm Room. Let’s just say that it’s astonishing that a college professor would have to make these points to students at a major university who are supposedly young adults.
Here are this week’s full results. Fausta and The Razor were unable to vote this week, but were not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:
- *First place with 3 1/3 votes! – The Noisy Room – Harry’s Heroine Hikes 1,000 Miles For Wounded Troops… She’s An American Warrior All The Way [Video]
- Second place with 3 votes – Bookworm Room – The terrifying nihilism behind Leftists’ desire for socialized medicine
- Third place *t* with 1 vote – Nice Deb – Saturday Movie Matinee: Black Violence In Schools
- Third place *t* with 1 vote – The Independent Sentinel – Wait Until You Hear What Obama Calls Convicts
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Maggie’s Notebook – IBD Ted Cruz Tax Reform: Economically, Politically Revolutionary –– Intellectually Dominating
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Razor – Hillary Is Going To Miss
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Right Planet – BILL GATES: Only Socialism Can Save Planet
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Joshuapundit – JK Rowling – When Cowardice Calls
- *First place with 2 2/3 votes! – Mike Adams/Townhall – Get Out of My Class and Leave America submitted by Bookworm Room
- Second place with 1 2/3 votes – Sultan Knish – The Death Of The American Welfare State submitted by Fausta’s Blog
- Third place with 1 1/3 votes – Dave King/Conservative Daily News – Next Leftist Push Is “Climate Justice” And The U.S. Is Once Again The Culprit They’ll Punish submitted by Puma By Design
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – Robby Soave/Reason – Even Salon Thinks Trigger Warnings Have Ruined College submitted by The Razor
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – David Warren – All Hallows Eve submitted by Joshuapundit
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes – The Objective Standard – Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice submitted by The Right Planet
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Ben Caspit/al-Monitor – Lions Over Syria: Russia and Israel Face-off submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Mark Tapson/Frontpage Magazine – Monica Crowley On Today’s Totalitarians Left submitted by The Independent Sentinel
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Mike Nelson/Real Clear Defense – A Failure of Strategic Thinking in the Middle East submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Politically Short – The Days Of American Despotism submitted by The Noisy Room
See you next week!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.
And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?