Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino
i do not easily go baby gaga over spotting a celebrity in a crowd, but last week i attended the ReMIND.org “stand up for heroes” fundraising event in new york and i confess. the stars were out and i was struck. not by the ones who first walked the red carpet, but by the super heroes who weren’t visible and whose presence filled the heart and soul of the room. they are our nation’s men and women who have served our country since 2001 in iraq and afghanistan and returned home physically, emotionally and mentally injured. and far too often forgotten. the numbers are staggering. bob woodruff founded the bob woodruff foundation with his wife, lee after he endured a brain injury as a result of an exploded bomb while on news assignment news in iraq. at the top of the evening bob called out the names from the stage of a select group of heroes in the audience. many names were called. only half stood up because the rest could not. the applause for these selfless souls filled the room and filled every cell of my grateful body.
and then bruce springsteen came up to the stage. pure and poised and strong. and because i am a songwriter and he is my musical gold standard. and because i have taught my young daughter to see him as the gold standard. and because he is both a legendary artist and an american hero . and because i am a warm, breathing , beating heart; during his performance i felt like i was running on a treadmill on high incline. and then time stood still. bruce began to sing a duet with his wife, patti, written for their wedding. it’s called “should i fall behind.”
“now everyone dreams of love lasting and true,
but you and i know what this world can do,
so let’s make our steps clear so the other may see,
and i’ll wait for you,
should i fall behind, wait for me.”
as they sang, his acoustic guitar glistened. her hair fell shiny, pretty and red. the lyrics lifted me not only because they spoke of the love story of their remarkable marriage, but also and equally to the message of the evening. we must be there for each other. “i’ll wait for you, wait for me.”
words i imagined these warriors may well have said to each other many times at night out in the field while they were fighting for my freedom and i was snuggled safe and warm in my bed. all of the stars. all of the unidentified.
later, bob and lee introduced me to bruce and patti. they shook my hand and looked gratefully into my eyes. i was awed by their dedication to our war heroes and by their humility. i was speechless and fumbling for my words when i did finally speak. all i remember is telling them i loved their song. A fund-raising, live auction took place from the stage. one of bruce’s guitars from the “promised land” tour was up for sale to raise money for the wounded. the bidding began. the next day i read online that the guitar was bought by an unidentified woman.
i have been to many fundraisers and i will not forget this event and bob and lee woodruff’s heroic dedication to it. i hope you will not forget our wounded. i am posting this blog today, Veteran’s Day, when our heroes are traditionally honored. i came home with the memory of what was one of the greatest human experiences of my life. i came home with a lesson about heroism and sincerity and humility from shaking hands with our fallen heroes and meeting Bruce and Patti Springsteen. I will live with their examples for a lifetime. and one last thing; i came home with bruce’s guitar. it’s on my lap and waiting for a new song to sing!
peace and “born in the usa blessings”!