Stevie's Journal Entries Regarding Visits to the Injured Troops
To all the troops around the world~ I send you all my energy in this, the New Year. I thought you might like to hear about my last visit to Walter Reed and Bethesda hospitals, so here is my journal entry that begins my new journal.
Thank you for what you do~
Thank you for what you do~
I haven’t written in my journal for weeks. That is very unlike me…I think it is because my last 3-day trip to Bethesda, Walter Reed and Arlington National Cemetery deeply affected me. It happens every time I go~
It actually leaves me speechless…
Each time I go I find out more about the war thru these young peoples’ eyes. One boy said – “Don’t idolize us~ at the point of battle we are just fighting to keep our friends alive~ Iraqi and American… I guess that is what we would all do. You are on a team~ and the Iraqi people are lovely~ and you bond. You are emotionally touched by something every day and in simple terms, you feel that you are helping. That is what freedom means to them and they are willing, everyday, to risk their lives for it.
So, as Mick and I went from room to room delivering their tiny iPod~ they told us their stories. Mick became his tall, loving, father figure, English self~ taking in every word they said~ remaining calm (at least on the outside) inspiring them. We floated from room to room down thru the halls of the 2 hospitals over a three-day period. We gave out all our iPods. Right before I left for D.C., Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry dug into their pockets and came up with $10,000 for me. In my eyes they went from the coolest rock stars to generous great men~ as my press agent Liz Rosenberg said~ every returning wounded soldier should be given an iPod. It will be an integral part of their recovery.
The morning of the second day, Mick and I went to Arlington National Cemetery. We had no idea what to expect that day. We walked among the graves and stood together in the exact place where John Kennedy had stood two weeks before his death. He is buried there~ overlooking Washington, D.C. He has the best view in the city. He is everywhere there and you can feel it.
We went then to lay a wreath upon the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony takes place in a great white stone structure~ an amphitheatre. It was very grand. We visited a moment in the display room where specific medals and flags are housed~ beautiful folded blue flags like the one I have that was my fathers. And then, as only heads of state are usually allowed to do, we walked thru the doors of history and down the many steps to the great white tomb of the unknown soldiers~
The tomb guard says….
Then we went on to visit the graves of the 7 astronauts who did not make it back. Christa McAuliffe and I shared the same birthday, May 26th. I definitely had a moment with her. She would do it all again. Christa wanted to fly.
So all that said, what we try to do on our visits, is to use our power to call back that charmed, childlike innocence~ and the answer to that, in my opinion~ is music. Music gives you the strength to keep moving. Music inspires you. Inspired people don’t stay down.
So, in closing, it was awesome. I have never seen so many beautiful long eyelashes in one place. One can’t help but fall in love with each one of them. And Dr. Wagner and Ellen and Mike and Joe and Elaine, you are….
Thank you to the USO of Metropolitan Washington for letting us come to your hospitals~
You are awesome.
Janaury 29th, 2006
Today we heard on the news that Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt were hit by an IED bomb. We are all very concerned. Not much information has been given yet….
January 30th, 2006
It was reported on the news tonight that Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt had arrived at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in DC…..
Tuesday Morning ~ 11:15am
Today I sent Bob Woodruff, and his cameraman Doug Vogt, iPods. A world-class newsman, and his Emmy winning cameraman, unbelieveable. I am very sad about this. He along with Elizabeth Vargas took over for my favorite guy, Peter Jennings. This was the coveted “World News” spot. I could say that they shouldn’t have gone~ they have kids, but… but that’s what we do, we reach out to tell the world those stories they need to know. I write songs and go where I have to go. They report the news and… go where they have to go. There’s always a risk. They were standing up filming when their tank drove over a bomb. It blew up all around them. That’s what I.E.D.’s , improvised explosive devices, do. They destroy from a distance; a cowards bomb. We don’t really know the extent of their injuries.
Pray for them.
We leave for Melbourne Australia tonight at 11:45. I got up at 10:00 today so I could have my quiet time on this, our last day in L.A. We will be back in 5 weeks. That seems like a long time to me now~ but as we all know…
So, off I go into the wild blue yonder once again. What an adventure~ and New Zealand too…I’m sure the minute I get on the plane this nervous, “not wanting to go” thing will be gone` just like stage fright.
So, bon voyage, America, for awhile. Goodbye, house that I love and, goodbye “tree of my heart”~
Journal Entries July 2005
Friday July 8th, 2005
Today started out as normal as any other day~ misty but sunny~a day off for me and my band~ a time to rest from a tour that began last May~ a sweet day in Washington, D.C.~ Except for…this was the day I chose to go to the Walter Reed Hospital and visit with the boys back from Iraq~ a few hours to spread my magic and give away some of my music~ sign some rock & roll t-shirts~ and come back home for an early night because tomorrow we fly to Charlotte for a show and then back here to play D.C. on Sunday… How simple my idea of this day now seems. I look at life through the eyes of a rock and roll fairy princess who lives for nothing more than to sing a song~ break a few hearts~ and fly on to the next city and do it all again…until today.
I walked into Walter Reed today a single woman with no children~ I walked out~ a mother, a wife, a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter, a nurse, a patient’s advocate~ a changed woman~ what I saw today will never leave my heart. The boys of Iraq~ (and a few older ones, too).
And the families~ the father who showed me the shrapnel they took out of his son~ and then took his medals and laid them at his child’s feet~ such a beautiful father…in so much pain, but always hopeful~ his son will make it~ and I believe that…
The father who said - "His eyes are closed, but he hears you. See, his hand is making the sign of "Mahalo"~ his eyes are closed, but those tears mean he sees you~" I made him promise to listen to my music~ he promised. And his mother, I felt her pain more vividly than I have ever felt the pain of a mother’s love in my whole life. I told her I could only imagine what that would be like. I hugged her for a long time thinking that maybe if I didn’t let her go~ we would just wake up from this dream. But war is real~ it’s not a dream~ and I had to let her go. That was hard. I felt some of my spirit leave my body and go over to her; I hope she felt it too…Mahalo, I won’t forget you…
And the mom’s…oh yes, our moms just never give up…they just sit there and pray and make promises to God~ "if you will just bring him back…just take me…" and they mean it. And standing in those rooms with them I meant it too…whatever it takes, God, just do it.
And the sisters…I have a brother. He is 5 years younger than me, but he is still my baby. Even the thought of him being taken from me drains the joy from my body~ and the world would be joyless. I saw that in those little sisters eyes~ "you can’t have my brother…he is too young; we have only just begun to live. So I pray for these boys to gather their strength and their angels about them and come back to us. I pray that these brilliant doctors that surround them are able to work the miracles that are needed here. I place a circle of white light around them~ like a million white candles burning for their recovery and their strength and their determination to come back to us…
Tuesday Night, July 12th, 2005
I finished that last sentence at 3:30 last Friday night. I was so tired, I could write not another word~ we had a show in Charlotte the next day and I needed to go to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. The faces of my new found injured friends haunted my thoughts~ so I called my mother in Phoenix knowing that she would listen to what I had written and calm me so I could sleep. I read my words to her, as I have done so many times before, and I cried. How could this happen? What can I do? Mom, they are so young, I just can’t stand it…She listened, as she always has, and began to weave her wisdom around me. She said~ whatever it takes to keep war from our shores. Whatever it takes to keep 9-11 from happening again. It’s all about freedom and our way of life. I asked these same questions when I worked at the prisoner of war camp in World War II~ whatever it takes to keep war from our cities. These young men are, in no uncertain terms, fighting for our freedom. So what you can do, Stevie, is love them and visit them and most importantly, tell the world what you experienced so that people know what these boys have given up. Your job here has always been to bring information to the world through your songs~ and to your audiences when you talk to them. This visit to Walter Reed Hospital is another stepping-stone in your life. You had to see it to believe it~ and now go tell the world.
So, once again~ thank you for those brave moms, …and thank you for my own mom, for Barbara, for her words that allowed me to sleep that night. She has always been my "way out", my solution, my great love…
And I will do something. Me and my guitar player, friend, Waddy~ and my dear little assistant, Karen. We will think of something. We’ll start a foundation, we will tell the world what we saw~ we’ll keep tabs on our boys at Walter Reed~ and we will love them every day in our hearts~ and we will WISH THEM WELL.