Monday, December 19, 2005

A Hero Comes Home

Lance Cpl. Aaron Mankin was seriously wounded by an IED in Iraq on May 11. Lance Cpl. Mankin suffered second- and third-degree burns to his hands, arms, upper neck and face. He was riding in an amphibious assault vehicle when the bomb went off. After multiple surgeries and daily rehabilitation Mankin has come home for a holiday visit with his family.

A boy who has always set goals and timelines for
those goals, Mankin isn't stressed or disconcerted
when asked about his plans for the future. Instead,
his face is full of obvious wonder as he talks about
the fact that he can walk. Despite a future of
as-yet-uncounted surgeries to rebuild his nose, mouth
and ears and to repair damage to his hands and arms,
Mankin talks of his amazement that he didn't suffer
any broken bones or lose a leg that could affect that

"From the start, I knew I'd get better," he said Friday.
"I always knew that it was a part of God's plan. God's
been very faithful to me even though I don't deserve it."

This is said over and over by those whose faith is in God. No matter how difficult or terrible the circumstances may appear, we always know that God is near, God love us, God is always good, God is always faithful, God will take care of us. This give us courage to go forward.

Aaron Mankin supports the effort in Iraq and is proud of the freedom that the United States has helped bring to the Iraqi people, despite his severe injuries and his fear for the safety of his fianc/e.

"It's not that I know more, but I understand more than what the major media kicks out," Mankin said.
He understands the difference between an Iraqi village where family life is still apparent and one where insurgents are likely hid away. He understands the joy a child feels when his village is safe and he again can play outside and con candy from the Americans.

He also understands a deep commitment that lets him say "in a heartbeat" he would go back.

Mankin plans to ask the military medical review board to allow him to return to duty after his recovery, although he knows that if he returns, it will likely be a different type of position. If that doesn't work out, he wants to finish his education and become a teacher. He was a substitute teacher in Bentonville prior to his military service.

I love hearing stories like this. It always encourages me to not to give up. Lance Cpl. Mankin, Thank you for your service! You are what American is all about. What we hope our children grow up to be. What ever you do, I know that God will richly bless you!
Blue for bravery. White for honor. Red for sacrifice.
Semper Fidelis

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