Space between life and death

January 29, 2010

I’d been told that an acquaintance’s son had arrived home safe from Iraq, his first overseas Army stint. When I asked the acquaintance today about his son’s experience, he filled in the story with details, details that remind me of what we all know but rarely ponder: inches and seconds often add up to the difference between life and death.

The young man had been driving a Humvee. Moving slowly, the vehicle hit an IED. The blast hurled the front wheels more then 250 feet. This slowed the vehicle, and when another IED exploded a few seconds later, the force  was centered beneath the front of the Humvee rather than the occupants. The difference? A broken arm, concussion, and minor burns instead of dismemberment.

As the father told the story, a smile never left his face.