Last November, while I was on my book tour, a woman came to me with tears streaming down her cheeks and she handed me this bracelet to honor her son.
She asked me if I would wear for a month — I haven't taken it off. I immediately connected with the story of her son, Sgt. Patrick Tainsh.
Patrick was raised right, but after his parents divorced, Patrick ran away and got caught up in a life that wasn't taking him anywhere.
He was living out of his car, working odd jobs and became hooked on black tar heroin for 10 years. Eventually Patrick came back home to his parents, and vowed to start doing something that made a difference.
At age 28, his best friend and Marine father helped him quit drugs cold turkey and he put all his heart into the Army.
He began to live the principles and values his family and friends taught him: courage, hard work and honesty.
Then, on the night of February 11, 2004, Sgt. Tainsh's unit was ambushed outside Baghdad. An IED exploded and insurgents were firing RPGs.
When the attack was over, Patrick told his commanding officer that he took shrapnel from the original IED and he collapsed into his arms and died.
But before he did, he unloaded 400 to 500 rounds at the enemy. Doctors say that seems impossible, because the shrapnel hit Tainsh in the throat and he should not have been able to take another breath, let alone fire another 500 shots.
But because of the man he became, Sgt. Tainsh didn't let that stop him. He saved 10 lives that day and was posthumously awarded the Silver and Bronze Stars.
His mother Deborah says she knows her son was proud to die honorably at age 33, because he could have just as easily died of an overdose behind a building years earlier.
At the beginning of Friday's show, I asked viewers to make a choice. Can you become the person you promised yourself you'd be on September 12, 2001? Before I even knew his name, Sgt. Patrick Tainsh made that choice. And 10 of our best and brightest lived another day because of his answer.
I don't know if your choice will change the future of the world, but I can promise you it will change your future. And if we change ourselves, and then realize that we're not all alone, changing the world is the easy part.
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