I wrote last month about Josh Wetzel, the soldier who was injured in Afghanistan, and who is now at Walter Reed Hospital. His wife, Paige, told me recently about the visit to Walter Reed by President Obama. The President came on the day Obamacare passed to visit troops at the hospital. Paige said all they were told in advance was that a “distinguished visitor” was coming to the hospital. They weren’t told the visitor would be the President until the day of his visit. When President Obama came onto the floor that day, according to Paige, things got pretty tense. His liaison came into Josh’s room and told him that President Obama was two doors down and that the next knock on the door would be the President.
When President Obama came into the room, he hugged every person in the room. Paige said he actually looked around and commented on the “Auburn décor” that is all over the walls in Josh’s room. The President first thanked Josh for his sacrifice and told him that our country would be nothing without our military, which is 100% voluntary. He said that without those in the military who choose to fight the war on terror, which has lasted a decade, our country could not still be the great nation that it is today.
President Obama said he was “proud and honored” to be in Josh’s presence and gave him his Presidential coin. Just as the President was about to leave, Paige asked him if it would be ok if they prayed for him. The President immediately said, “Absolutely” and Paige led this prayer:
Dear God, thank you for this opportunity. We have the infantry and the face of our nation together in one room joined in prayer. God, our President is human too. He needs your guidance and wisdom for decision making. Please let the experiences on this floor stick with him and influence positive decision making for our military and ultimately our nation. Thank you for bringing us together today. Amen.
Paige said it was obvious the President was touched deeply by her prayer and he told her “You deserve a hug for that one!” He then proceeded to hug everyone in the room. A photographer took pictures of Paige praying for the President. The group was in a circle, with Josh in a wheelchair, all holding hands with heads bowed as Paige prayed a powerful prayer.
A few weeks later, Josh’s hospital liaison told him that that the President was so moved by her offer to pray for him that he wanted permission for their picture to be blown up and hung in the west wing of the White House. Paige and the family went on a tour of the West Wing a few days later and actually saw the picture. Paige told me they all said a prayer around the picture, asking that it would influence all who walked by it. Paige said the best part of the trip was when the tour guide behind them got to the picture and told the group that the family in the picture was the folks ahead of them. The guide told them “the gentleman in the wheelchair is one of our nation’s wounded warriors.” Paige says she will never forget the feelings of how proud of Josh she was at that time.
Paige also says to let our readers know that Josh is doing great. He will have one more skin graft to close the wound on his left shoulder blade and hopefully that will be the last one. Josh is being fitted and casted for his prosthetics. Paige says Josh is so very excited about the opportunity to walk again and told me again how so very proud she is of her husband. I told Paige we too were proud of Josh and would continue to pray for the two of them. I hope our readers won’t mind me writing again about Josh and Paige. Since Paige was a “North Alabama Beasley,” before she became a “Wetzel,” I feel like I have a license to do so without having to explain why.
But we must all remember many members of our armed services have gone through the very same thing Josh is now dealing with. Unfortunately and sadly, some of our warrior heroes didn’t make it back home. We can’t forget them or their families!