Over the past month we have seen much trauma and sadness on board the USNS Comfort. However, these incidents are not what I will remember when I return to the United States, nor will it define my experience on board the USNS Comfort. Rather, my experience has been defined by the people of Haiti, especially the little kids who have experienced so much pain and sorrow. Yet these children are quick to smile or laugh. These children take such delight in coloring books, a peanut butter sandwich or an apple. Their courage and strength amidst this tragedy is what I’ll remember.
I’ll forever remember the evening when a couple mothers started singing quietly. Within minutes more than 40 children and escorts were singing hymns and spirituals together. Forgotten was the pain of missing limbs, open wounds or lost family. Forgotten was the exhaustion and weariness that had been weighing us down. At that time all those present-- patients, escorts and staff-- bonded together as those with so little lifted up their voices and hands in praise to God. That evening made every hardship worth it for me.
Seeing the precious children return to their families makes everything worth it.
Lt. Kenneth M. Cole, NC
3 Forward Pediatrics Ward