When I went to the Palazzo this weekend to cover their celebration of Armed Forces Day, I expected to get a few different reports from the event. On Saturday, I posted interviews with the Sands Corporation VP in charge of the event, two of the representatives from Southwest Airlines (which partnered with Sands on the event), and of course the welcoming ceremony itself, which was awesome to watch. I had hoped to interview some of the veterans themselves in order for Hot Air readers to get to know them as individuals and to let them tell their own stories directly. I made it clear to the Armed Forces Foundation that I already had plenty to post and that none of them should feel pressured at all to talk to me on the record. Most decided to pass, although plenty of them talked with me off the record and made me feel welcome indeed, even as I worried about intruding on their enjoyment.
One Marine did agree to sit down with me for an on-camera interview, and he is a most impressive young man. Sergeant Thomas Brooks lost a leg in Helmand Province and has been undergoing rehab since at Walter Reed, now on an outpatient basis. Sgt. Brooks talks about the difficulties that presents for his family and his fiancee Keri, who joined us for this interview. When I asked him what he planned to do, he told me he’s going to stay in the Marines — because he wants to pass along what he learned to other Marines so that they can prepare themselves better. Sgt. Brooks is quite an inspiration, as I think you’ll agree:
I want to thank the wounded warriors who took time to share their stories more privately with me, or who just chatted and made me feel very welcome. I’m hoping to interview one in particular down the road, a friend of Uncle Jimbo’s at Blackfive who coincidentally happened to be part of this weekend. Without naming her (since I haven’t asked for permission to do so yet), I’d like to give her special thanks for her friendship and advice this weekend. Big thanks also go to the Palazzo and to the Armed Forces Foundation as well.
Note: The Palazzo paid for my travel expenses to attend the event; I paid for all other incidentals.
Update: The Sands’ J.C. did his own interview with another wounded warrior, Marine Sgt. Jonathan Blank. Be sure to listen to it.