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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

SSG Norman H. Currin

This weekend a friend of mine (Kat with the Georgia PGR) had the honor of standing next to a Vietnam hero as he passed in Hospice care. I personally had never met Norm, I truly wish I had. We, the people of this world, are less as a whole from the loss of such a strong and caring man.

God bless and be with the Currin family and friends. SSG Currin, Norman H., will not be forgotten.

These are her words.

***********************

This weekend, I lost a friend and hero. He was the living embodiment of all a hero should be, and was strong till the end. In an attempt to process everything that has happened, and so that I always remember, I've written this below:

SSG Norman H. Currin went to be with the Lord shortly after 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, 2008.

Exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War messed him up. For thirteen years, he fought serious physical problems all the time. Six of those years, he got dialysis 3 times a week and for many years was also confined to a wheelchair.

The last six months were a whirlwind of hospital stays back-to-back-to-back - strokes, pnumonia, complications from being a dialysis patient, infection of his dialysis port & bedsores, and lastly, a massive heart attack on Tuesday. Nothing the docs could have done would have saved him, the treatments would have killed him. Norman bravely made the decision to accept hospice care.

Despite massive amounts of morphine and being in a medically-induced coma, he still communicated. He'd squeeze our hands when we said certain things (any of his friends' names or anything about motorcycles, the military, or especially his dear family, for example). The day before he died, while on "enough morphine to choke a horse" (said the nurse), he fully and completely woke up and looked at each one of us - plain as day told each of us one by one, "I love you." He was holding my hand so tightly, my hand fell asleep. He held my hand and the hands of his family and friends strongly off and on for hours all weekend- always his squeezes were in response to something that was said to him, not simply random.

About 3 hours before he left us, he woke up again. He couldn't open his eyes or talk, tho he was obviously trying. He would turn in the direction of our voices and smile -. SMILE!! - at us. Then he slipped back into his deep sleep once more...Shortly thereafter, his lungs were completely filled with fluid as a result of no dialysis for the past week --- a few more brave (but ineffective) breaths, and he was gone.

A phone call was made as planned upon his passing, and others from the Patriot Guard Riders, together with some riders from the Wingmen and Sons of Thunder who were his dearest, dearest friends, came to the hospital and escorted him and his family to the funeral home in the middle of the night. Talk about an amazing and humbling honor.

He was treated cruelly upon his return from Vietnam, as so many of our veterans were. But I have not the slightest doubt that in Heaven, God made it up to him hugely with the biggest, best welcome home parade and celebration EVER.

Freedom is not free. Those who fight for it - now and in past conflicts - deserve our utmost honor and respect. We will never fully know or understand all they sacrificed on our behalf. To those who served in Vietnam and were unappreciated, I offer my genuine and heartfelt gratitude. Know that you made a difference - know that we are proud of you, know that you are dearly and truly loved. And for those who never once have heard it said in all this time: Welcome home. You did us proud.
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