On a day when many in America were just starting to tire of their New Year resolutions, Joshua Schichtl found himself caught in what can only be imagined as a hellish clamor of fire and fear. Joshua was hit on January 6, 2008. It was late afternoon in Iraq and the Alpha company, a team of four vehicles, was driving routine recon. They struck an IED. The Humvees were decimated and the company ambushed.
Emily Schichtl remembers the shock of the call. She remembers confusion and isolation and concern as she drove to Walter Reed Medical Center toward an uncertain future. She thinks of the sterling smile her husband had worn and the peculiar pride he had invested in his teeth. The IED blast sheared Joshua’s tongue in half, took out his left eye, inflicted severe brain trauma, and broke his jaw in 19 places.
Today Joshua is slowly reclaiming his memories: the ambush and the firefight, the escape to the helicopter, the life flight to Germany, and the ensuing years spent in and out of Walter Reed. He faces challenges in all his roles as he re-assumes his life and as he forges for himself a new direction. He must relearn what it means to be an individual, a husband, a father. He must learn to reconcile his lifestyle with the frustrations of injury, temper his passions with the reality of post-war life. For his fortitude and courage in the face of this task, we must lend him the respect of a nation, the support of a friend, and, above all, the empathy that comes from understanding his story.
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