“It was one of those miracles at The Wall.”
Allen Hoe remembers meeting Major Paula Couglin, an Army nurse, at the 2005 Memorial Day services in Washington, D.C. Hoe's son, First Lieutenant Nainoa Hoe, was killed in Iraq earlier that year.
Recorded in , District of Columbia
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Allen Hoe: I thought it would be great to welcome these young trauma nurses with some special Hawaiian lei. And I saw this army nurse come walking up the path and I said, Here, this is a special gift from me to you. She put her head down so I could put the lei over her shoulders she noticed the button that I was wearing on my chest and she just put her finger on it, and she said, I know him. I said, How do you know him? He was my son. And she said, I was the trauma nurse at the crash unit where he died. And she said, I will never forget that face. Both of us kind of looked at each other and we started crying. And I gave her a big hug and you could hear this very audible gasp of all the people that were standing around us. But I could sense that something was bothering her and I thought she may have sensed that my family might have been disappointed at the fact that our son, his life could not have been saved. And I said, I want you to know that my son was a warrior, he absolutely recognized all of the risks that were involved. She cried and she said that as the head trauma nurse one of her tasks was to prepare his body for his men to have a last viewing. And she said that she tried to close his eyes but as she went to press his lids together, they'd always would come open just a little bit and she said that has bothered her all this time. And I looked at her and I laughed and she kind of gave me this puzzled look, and she was like, I'm curious now, why are you laughing? And I said, My son would sleep with his eyes partially opened. His men, when they were in combat, they were never certain what they could do when the Lieutenant was sleeping. Because they never knew if he was sleeping or if he was just awake watching what they were doing. And I said, the simple fact that you shared that story with me totally convinces me now that you were with my son when he died. It was one of those miracles at The Wall. It was absolutely remarkable.