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Tom Sileo's op-ed column, The Unknown Soldiers: Love Is Alive
Todd Love was wounded in an IED attack.
Courtesy of 'Pray for Cpl. Todd Love'
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ATLANTA--Cpl. Todd Love's life changed in a matter of seconds.
"I don't remember an explosion," Love, 22, told The Unknown Soldiers. "One second I'm in Afghanistan and another second I'm in Germany."
The Marine was walking in a field between two suspected enemy compounds on Oct. 25, 2010, when everything went blank.
"When I woke up in Germany, the first thing I recognized was that I wasn't in Afghanistan anymore," he said. "Then I realized I stepped on an IED."
Had a British helicopter not arrived about 90 minutes after the improvised explosive device detonated, Love might have died facedown in that wretched, blood-soaked field.
"It took them five minutes to find me, and when they did, my legs were already gone and my left hand was really damaged," the Marine said.
Love slipped in and out of consciousness as he was rushed from Germany to Bethesda, Md., for a series of crucial surgeries. His hand was later amputated. But even as he came to grips with his severe injuries, the brave Marine, who grew up near Marietta, Ga., never questioned his decision to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by volunteering to serve.
"I was working at an Italian restaurant and wanted to do something more meaningful," Love, who joined the Marine Corps at age 18, said.
By the time he was injured, Love had already witnessed more violence than most of us will in our lifetimes.
"I've been in so many firefights probably close to 40," he said. "I couldn't even possibly tell you how many times I've been shot at."
Going to bed was almost always a challenge for Love during his deployment, as the young Marine's mind was filled with searing images of innocent Afghans being murdered and maimed by al-Qaida and the Taliban.