Wearing fatigues, Army Spec. Bryan Anderson climbed out of a limousine, stood on his prosthetic legs and raised a prosthetic arm in triumph.
Anderson, who in a burst of heat and shrapnel in October 2005 became only the fourth triple-amputee of the Iraq war, came home Tuesday in a hero’s parade that rolled through his hometown of Rolling Meadows, led by a convoy of 150 motorcycles.
“I’ve spent a long time getting ready for this day at Walter Reed,” Anderson said. “This is real life now. I’m ready.”
Anderson, 25, spent nearly a year at the Army medical center in Washington, where he fought a grueling battle for independence and self-sufficiency. After overcoming a mountain of obstacles, the former soldier also hopes Hollywood may be calling. He wants to be a stuntman and has been talking to a stunt coordinator. He would like to appear in war movies.
“I think it could be pretty realistic, you know,” he said.
But on Tuesday no one was acting. Friends and family embraced Anderson, who surprised doctors with the speed of his recovery and awed them with his drive.
One of the first to greet him at O’Hare International Airport was his identical twin, Bobby.
“It might hurt more being a twin,” his brother said. “But you deal with it. We deal with it.”
Rolling Meadows was ready for the homecoming.
People stood in front yards along a side street leading to Anderson’s alma mater, Rolling Meadows High School, waving flags and holding signs reading “We are proud of you, Bryan. Welcome home!”
Students at the school had tucked bedsheets into fencing with welcoming messages.
City workers stood waving flags from cherry-picker pods extended above trucks along the roadway while other city trucks lined the route with yellow lights flashing in his honor.
And so, really, I hope Anderson’s sacrifice gave some weight to the therapy Cohen needed from the bombs and the explosions on TV. I hope what Anderson gave up was enough to make Cohen sleep well at night. I really hope it made Cohen happy. If not, how many other kids will have to lose three limbs to satisfy Cohen’s sick bloodthirsty obtuseness? If not, how much longer will this war have to go on, to make sure Cohen can look at himself in the mirror, measure his pundit cock and not come up short?
Cohen said it straight out:
In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic. The United States had the power to change things for the better, and those who would do the changing — the fighting — were, after all, volunteers. This mattered to me.
There aren’t words.