The State of the Union Address seldom draws my attention, but this year was different.
Sitting at my computer, waiting for the president to take the podium, I was checking Facebook and saw our nephew, U.S. Army Ranger 1st Class Cory Remsburg, was in Washington, D.C., at, he said, the West Wing.
“Is that a hotel?” I queried.
Then I realized this was the real West Wing at the White House, my first inkling that something amazing was about to happen.
For nearly five years, Cory has been recovering from severe combat wounds. He had met President Obama three times during this time, and was invited to visit the White House when he was ready.
Tuesday was the day, and it would be one that he — and his family — will never forget.
Cory was about 5 when my husband’s sister, Anne, married Cory’s dad, Craig Remsburg. Visits were few, but we stayed in touch, as families do, with updates and pictures of Cory, his brother, Chris, and his stepsister, Shelby.
On a trip a few years ago to St. Louis, where the Remsburgs lived, we found that Cory, 17, had grown up to be a polite, fun-loving and sweet young man. School activities and the Civil Air Patrol occupied his time.
His goal: walk in his dad’s footsteps and join the Army. (He has about 15 family members who have also served.)
Craig couldn’t bring himself to sign permission papers, so Cory waited a year, until he came of age, and he was off to basic training. He eventually joined the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and achieved the coveted status of Army Ranger.
On Cory’s 10th mission in Afghanistan, on Oct. 1, 2009, a roadside bomb exploded near him. One ranger was killed, several injured.