The life of a soldier serving overseas is one many of us can scarcely contemplate.
Which is why so many heroes returning back to the United States have to seek help when it comes to addressing their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
That in itself can be a challenge for many proud soldiers. Fortunately, William Jazwinski, a former Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Operator for the United States Army, knew he had to accept treatment in order to overcome the painful memories of his 15-month tour in Iraq.
What William didn’t know, is that the flag he kept in his truck to remind himself of his service would make him a target for law enforcement …
By all accounts, William was a model soldier who served proudly and efficiently. There was little that could put him off his sense of duty; not even long nights in the hot Iraqi desert or the gruelling training he had to undergo before he was deemed fit to serve in the first place.
Yet William’s time overseas in the US Army was rough, and he sought treatment for PTSD upon returning home. Of course, that didn’t stop him from driving around with a properly folded American flag in his truck.
One day, however, when William was out driving, he was spotted and flagged down by a local police officer. Since he wasn’t speeding, his registration was compliant and he didn’t have any outstanding legal issues, he was confused, but even so he followed the officer’s instructions and pulled over.
William retrieved his license and registration, ready for inspection … only, that’s not what the officer was interested in.
William shared their exchange in a Facebook post that’s since gone viral:
“Me: Good morning, Officer. Was I speeding?
Officer: Good morning, no not speeding. Just wanted to stop ya and say thank you for your service.
Me: Oooh the bumper sticker, nice. Your welcome, Sir. My pleasure.
Officer: Where did you serve?
Me: I went to Iraq. Did a 15 month [stint]. Out of Fort Benning.
Officer: Well, alright. My son went to Iraq. He didn’t make it home.”
“Me: Man, I’m so sorry to hear that. I just finished a PTSD program.
Me- Goodmorning officer. Was i speeding?Officer- Goodmorning, no not speeding. Just wanted to stop ya and say…
Officer: I see you have a flag in the truck. The one we got for him? Well it’s at the house. Can I ask a question?
Officer: Do you mind stepping out and receiving a hug? You remind me of my son. I pulled you over. I thought you were him. I still don’t believe it most days he’s gone.
With tears in both our eyes, I got out and hugged that man. I’m talking about for a minute or two crying. Down to our knees crying. I needed that.
To all the family and friends of soldiers, fighting or done fighting, God bless you. Your peace and your hearts. It’s so hard without them, I know. This road is a tremendous one. Love to all.”
It transpired the officer simply wanted to honor his son’s memory and show support for the troops with a much-needed hug. William was able to give him some semblance of peace, and the incident restored his faith in strangers.
As soon as William got home, he took a picture of the flag and shared it online. He had no idea, of course, that his post would garner viral attention. Since he posted the story to his Facebook page, it’s been shared more than 170,00 times and liked by more than 200,000 people.
We want to show love for all the troops serving both at home and overseas, and continue to pray that those who are separated from their families come home safely!
If you want to support the troops, share this article on Facebook to show that you care.