This is one of those stories that requires a tissue. You’re going to need it. If you’ve ever wondered about the “average” American, don’t worry. This will renew your faith in the average person.
On July 19 Staff Sgt. Jesse Cottle lost both of his legs, above the knees. A bomb exploded under him. He was in Afghanistan. To date he has suffered through 6 surgeries.
A family friend organized a welcome to Phoenix crowd to greet Sgt. Cottle when he arrived to visit his parents at their new home. People at the airport, who were simply at the airport saw Marines in dress uniform begin to arrive. By now most people know when something like that happens, one of our heroes are getting ready to return. Even those who did not know what was going on, but knew a hero was returning home reached for an American flag to greet him. They lined up on both sides of the corridor as Stg. Cottle was helped off the plane.
“…”Don’t know him at all,” said Bernard Kaplan, 80, who fought in Korea. “You never know who is going to be out here for these men. I just wanted to make sure there was at least one person here for him.”
He need not have worried.
Approximately 150 people stood and waited for Cottle.
As he rounded a corner, Cottle saw what awaited him. His father, who was pushing him, slowed down so he could take it all in.
Cottle shook hands with everybody. He met them and thanked them, a look of surprise and appreciation on his face.
Some of the old-timers saluted and some of the women bent down to hug him.
Finally, Mack handed Cottle the microphone attached to the karaoke machine she had brought from home.
“It goes without saying, thank you very much,” he said.
“This means so much to me. I was raised a humble person, so this is very strange for me.”
After a week at home, Cottle will return to the Naval Medical Center San Diego where he will receive his prosthetic legs and learn how to walk.
His mother said after that he may take some time off from the Marines to get a college degree….”