Because our brave soldiers have to deal with things, most civilians could not even imagine, many return home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, many of them don’t seek help for their worries.
William Jazwinski, a former Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Operator for the United States Army, knew that after his 15-month tour in Iraq, he had to seek treatment and overcome the painful memories that followed him home.
William never thought the flag on his truck would make him a target for law enforcement.
William was a brave soldier who would do anything for his fellow servicemen. He spent long nights in the hot Iraqi desert, had grueling training schedules that brought his battalion together, but there was nothing that could deter William from the goal of a mission.
His time overseas was rough and that is why, when William’s tour in Iraq came to an end, he drove around with a properly folded United States flag in his vehicle.
One day, while William was driving in his truck stateside, he was spotted by a local police officer. William wasn’t speeding, his registration was compliant, and he didn’t have any outstanding legal issues.
He noticed the patrol car behind him, the red and blue lights started flashing, and the siren going off. He wondered what in the world could he have done wrong?
William pulled over immediately and had his license and registration ready. He shared the reason behind the traffic stop on his Facebook page.
“Me: Good morning, Officer. Was I speeding?
Officer: Good morning, no not speeding. Just wanted to stop ya and say thank you for your service.
Me: Oooh the bumper sticker, nice. You’re welcome, Sir. My pleasure.
Officer: Where did you serve?
Me: I went to Iraq. Did a 15 month [stint]. Out of Fort Benning.
Officer: Well, all right. My son went to Iraq. He didn’t make it home.”
“Me: Man, I’m so sorry to hear that. I just finished a PTSD program.
Officer: I see you have a flag in the truck. The one we got for him? Well, it’s at the house. Can I ask a question?
Officer: Do you mind stepping out and receiving a hug? You remind me of my son. I pulled you over. I thought you were him. I still don’t believe it most days he’s gone.
With tears in both our eyes, I got out and hugged that man. I’m talking about for a minute or two crying. Down to our knees crying. I needed that.
To all the family and friends of soldiers, fighting or done the fighting, God Bless You, Your peace and your hearts. It’s so hard without them, I know. This road is a tremendous one. Love to all.”
The officer pulled the soldier over just to show his support for the troops and give William a much-needed hug. It’s hard losing a child, and it’s even harder knowing that they passed while overseas away from family.
William was able to give the officer a break from the pain and restore his faith in the goodness of strangers.
When William got home, he snapped a picture of the flag and shared it online. He had no idea that his experience with the random officer would resonate with so many people.
After William posted the story on his Facebook page, it has been shared more than 170,000 times and liked by more than 200,000 users.
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