Why can’t I be there? Is the question in her mind
How to explain to a 4 year old, is the answer I cannot find
My baby feels abandoned, rightfully this makes her mad
Thoughts of this brings me to tears, today I’m feeling sad
I dream of her sitting next to me, with her tiny hand on my thigh
She looks up at me and says “it’s ok,” as she wipes a tear from my eye
Why can’t I be there, precious moments are passing by
Pale skin and jet black hair, an alligator tear falls from her eye
I nearly lost my life yesterday, tomorrow she turns five
It was either him or me, I must fight to stay alive
If I don’t make it home, how will her mother explain
If I never hold her again, how do you heal that pain?
How to explain war to a child that freedom, is not free
And a year apart from Daddy is worth the sacrifice
For you and me.
– Robert Henline Baghdad Iraq 2003
Two men to be admired. Bobby Henline stands before Danny Dietz’s statue.
Honoring one of their own.
Danny Dietz paid the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Red Wings.
This sweet little man right here. He never met his uncle, but his love for him clearly shows as he reaches out to his metal boot. This is a moment you can’t stage.
Such a sweet moment between Bobby and Carter. Instead of a high five or fist pump, Carter wrapped his little hand around the end of Bobby’s arm. This moment felt like slow motion.
While driving to the hotel, I noticed Bobby looking out the window. We had been laughing with his friends, but he suddenly fell silent. I wanted to save this brief moment, as he caught his reflection in the window, and stared out into the mist.
We came across different crosses drawn and laid out beside this hill. It felt like a shrine, where individuals who had passed through before us, left little pieces of themselves in the dirt. Bobby is looking for sticks to make his own cross.
There’s always time for a selfie.
The group of strangers we ran into knew some comedy themselves.
We settled into our hotel and prepared to walk through downtown Estes Park. But before we left, I checked to see if Bobby was ready, and I saw this…he was tying his shoe on his lap. I quietly ran to get my camera so I could capture this innocent moment. There was something about it that grabbed me. Just pure, candid, raw.
Bobby reads an article on Robin Williams.
She stopped Bobby to thank him for his service. He hears it often, but each time he responds with authentic gratitude and humility as he looks them in the eye. His expression says it all.
Billy and Bobby sharing a moment. They didn’t even know I was watching.
Bobby found the perfect pair of boots for his granddaughter, Addison.
We walked through downtown Estes Park, grabbed lunch, passed out flyers, and raised awareness for History and Heroes. Strangers stopped Bobby along the way so they could shake his hand, tell him thank you, offer a hug…and some just needed to cry.
Iced white mocha, anyone?
Bobby shared his story at a Baptist church on the evening of September 10th. The church fell silent as he talked about his sustained injuires and journey of recovery. I saw tears glistening on their cheeks and crumpled tissues in their hands. I heard their sighs and subtle “Amens.”
Bobby spoke on September 11, 2014 at Mary’s Lake Lodge in Estes Park, CO.
Bobby took the audience from tears to laughter…then back to tears from laughing so hard.
This is one of my favorite moments from Colorado. Mrs. Dietz (mother of Danny Dietz) helped Bobby adjust his sleeve and buttoned it for him. I was looking away to snap a photo of something happening across the room, but when I turned around my eyes fell upon this scene. I barely caught it.
The front row that evening was reserved for the family of Danny Dietz. But I’d like to think he was there, too, sitting alongside them.
After he spoke, Bobby greeted and took pictures with strangers, friends, and fellow veterans.
One of my pictures of Bobby…just sitting beside the river, enjoying a cup of coffee.
The trip wouldn’t be complete with a closing selfie from the last day.
I have no doubt Bobby left his mark on Colorado, and those who crossed his path.
Estes Park, Colorado 2014