sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth for a while. My father passed away in August of 2014, after a long battle with cancer. We drove out to Utah for the services, and there was an honor guard present from the United States Air Force. (My Dad served 20 years in the Air Force Reserve, as a Fireman/Crash/Rescue and was on active duty during Desert Storm 1.) They stood immovable and stately, reverent in demeanor. We had our son with special needs in his stroller, and he was content to be there until the honor guard arrived. He kept pointing to them and asking to be let out. So, as any good mom-of-a-special-needs-child, I let him go, and as a photographer I had a camera ready. All he wanted was to give our servicemen a hug. I wasn’t sure what the rules were…are the Honor Guard allowed to hug while on duty? Our son didn’t know, and didn’t care. He wanted to thank these young men for their service, and for escorting his Grandpa to his final resting place.
Does the world need children with special needs? Do they contribute anything to society? Anyone observing the scene would have been able to ascertain that our son, at that moment, did the one thing we all wanted to do, but could not. He loves people unconditionally, regardless of race, social status, religious beliefs or political party. He represents the very best of us, the part that is moved with compassion and gratitude.
Though the challenges are many, I am happy to call him son. I am humbled by his innocence and humanity. Yes, there is a place in this world for children with special needs.