Josh: “I’m broken… but it was worth it.”

Josh placed his hand impression in Oklahoma City, OK on October 21, 2015 at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Josh shares his deeply personal thoughts on what the American Flag means to him, as a disabled veteran suffering from PTSD. We are so appreciative of Josh’s openness, and we are thankful for his service to our country.

Josh is one of more than 4,000 Americans who provided hand and finger impressions to create The Flag for Hope.  We are preserving, honoring, and curating their stories. They are a poignant representation of who we are as a country.


What does the american flag mean to you sir?

It’s a… it’s a big question. And ah… i’m sorry. Um. You know if you, if you take the pieces away, even if you take one piece away, it’s not what it is.

I mean the American Flag, of course, is a symbol. Um… perhaps the strongest symbol on earth right now. Umm… But if you pull it apart, you just have strips of red and white cloth, you’ve got some blue, and you’ve got some stars. But when you put it together, the American Flag to me, represents unity.

Because as we’ve seen through tragedy after tragedy, whether it be the Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon, or events overseas. We come together. The United States comes together and we can accomplish great things.

Without the word, “united”, it’s just the states… but when you unite ’em, you’ve got something so powerful, it’s just absolutely amazing.

So I don’t think I have words that can really say what it means to me, uh… because I don’t think there’s words that adequately express it. But uh… on their own, they’re just strips of fabric. But when they’re united, it’s the greatest symbol of unity, peace, of course freedom, in the world.

I’ve got a lot of things… I’m broken. Put it that way. But it was worth it. It was absolutely worth it.

If you just bring it all together. If we could all just focus on taking care of each other, as opposed to necessarily taking care of ourselves, my goodness what we could get back to.

But my story, uh, after 13 years, I ended up getting medically retired because of injuries sustained… umm… throughout my career. We’ll just say it that way. Um… so I’m medically retired, 100% disabled veteran. Um… I’m broken but it was worth it. It was worth it.