A story by Leslie DeMarco, NY5
I had an experience recently that I want to share with you. On Friday, July24, 2009 I attended the “Wounded Warrior Project” soldier ride that was sponsored by the town of Babylon, on L.I. where I live. For those of you who may not be aware of what the “Wounded Warrior Project” is, the soldier ride is a rehabilitative bicycling program for severely injured service men and women to reinvigorate their bodies and showing them how much life still has to offer. The event raises awareness and funds for the needs of combat wounded veterans. All are welcome to ride. This was the second time the event was held by the town and the first time I knew of it. I was not sure if I could attend so I did not think to contact my local officials and inform them that I would attend and represent the Blue Star Mothers of America. I had a banner made up by Service Flags.com which they shipped very quickly!
The morning of the event the sun was shinning and I just knew I had to go cheer these brave soldiers on. The event was crowd (over 900 cyclists participated I later found out). I was alittle nervous as I made my way through the crowd and up to the front. I was wearing the T shirt that the Blue Star Mothers Lake Cumberland Chapter was selling awhile ago, it really is quite nice, along with my BSM pin and my “Army parent” pin. I am not one for public display but unknown to me I would have help with my mission that day. I was standing there holding my banner when it caught the eye of a veteran, a Sargent, who seemed to have some connection organizing the event. He introduced himself and kept looking at my banner and finally said “I have to get you up front where the guys can see you” He had me in front of the cameras and photographers, he made sure the reporters had the name of the organization, but more importantly he had my banner that read “Blue Star Mothers of America” “ You are not forgotten” in front of the wounded soldiers riding in the event, all the veterans and yes, the politicians too. They announced that there was a “Gold Star Mother” present that day, a woman named Esposito, but she was not pointed out. I would have loved to meet her, say hello, and maybe just give her a hug.
As the sargent had me cross in front of the cyclists, all were quiet as the politician was speaking and some of the men called out “Thanks Blue Star Mom”, and “thanks Mom”, that alone made it all worth it! With tears in my eyes I beamed with pride for they are some mothers sons and they stood up for America. I was there to show support for them, mission accomplished! The crowd was so thick that I never did get to thank that Sargent in person but he did give me his card when he first saw me and told me that when my son came home he could contact him if he needed any help or wanted to join the VFW.
I wrote a thank you note to the politician who’s office sponsored the event, but I also wrote a special letter of thanks to the sargent who guided me on my mission, I told him I could not have done it without his help, he is still a leader!