Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

Bryan Anderson Delivers a Memorial Day Message of Hope and Inspiration to La Verne

May 29, 2017
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U.S. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano presents U.S. Army Sergeant Bryan Anderson with a proclamation.

LA VERNE, Calif., May 29, 2017 — In October 2005 when the Humvee he was riding in drove over and detonated an improvised explosive device or IED, U.S. Army Sergeant Bryan Anderson was hurled to the ground. When he tried to wipe away the blood from his face with his left hand, he discovered he didn’t have one. His two legs were missing as well. Then he passed out.

 

Life Lessons of a Harvard Reject

When he awoke seven days later, he found himself at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., his mother at his bedside.

 

At first he thought he was still in Baghdad, angry that his mother was risking her life to visit him in a war zone. Then the reality of his situation and her words quickly sank in:

 

“You know, you have two options here, right,” she told Bryan. “You can roll over and die or you can move on.”

 

Bryan chose the latter, and has made “No Turning Back,” his gripping memoir — some of which he shared as the featured speaker at La Verne’s Memorial Day services at Veteran’s Hall on Monday, May 29, 2017 — his new mission in life for pressing on in the face of so much adversity.

 

Several organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, turned out for the ceremonies.

During his 13-month recovery at Walter Reed, Bryan got stronger physically and mentally. A former gymnast, he began treating the world as his own personal jungle gym, refusing to believe he couldn’t do something until proven otherwise. He jumped on his skateboard, viewing the cracks on the sidewalks from a whole new perspective. He taught himself how to snowboard. He climbed trees.

 

He wouldn’t give up on an activity or physical challenge until he had gone out and tried it at least three times, “the same time an able-bodied person gives himself,” Bryan told an overflow crowd who had come to honor America’s fallen heroes and hear Bryan’s inspirational story.

 

“It’s all about not limiting yourself,” Bryan said. “How do you know unless you try.”

 

Bryan spoke briefly, which only made his message of hope and inspiration resonate more deeply. There was no sound of regret or “if only” in his voice. Rather he saw his injury not as a tragedy but as an opportunity — the ultimate challenge to see what he could be truly capable of.

 

“How you choose to perceive things are how things are going to be,” Bryan said.

 

 

To be sure, Bryan experienced rough periods during his recovery, like the first time he saw himself naked in the shower, with “half a body.” The sight triggered panic attacks and long stretches of little or no sleep.

 

“There was a time that I didn’t want to be alone, but I also didn’t want to be around anyone, it was weird,” Bryan said.

 

But with a great medical staff and a loving family behind him, and his personal choice to “move on,” he prevailed.

 

From almost the moment he regained consciousness, Bryan has been moving on and persevering. Instead of closing down and shutting out the world, for which no one could have faulted him, Bryan has been opening doors.

 

“I may not always know what I’m doing or where I’m going, but you know, why don’t I take every opportunity that comes along and see where it leads,” Bryan said, describing his evolving philosophy.

 

As a result of this attitude, Bryan is the national spokesman for Quantum Rehab, a division of Pride Mobility Corp., and travels the country making numerous personal appearances while delivering his message of perseverance and determination in major rehab facilities. In addition, he is a spokesman for USA Cares, a non-profit organization based in Radcliff, Ky., which is focused on assisting post 911 veterans and their families in times of need and an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation.

 

“I actually have seven different careers,” Bryan revealed.

 

Bryan’s positive, uplifting message along with all of the other Memorial Day ceremonies at La Verne’s Veterans Hall paid high tribute to the sacrifice our nation’s heroes continue to make in the defense of liberty.  

 

Photo and story coverage sponsored by Colleen Bennett, longtime La Verne Realtor, Sotheby’s International Realty, 909.374.4744.

One Response to “Bryan Anderson Delivers a Memorial Day Message of Hope and Inspiration to La Verne”

  1. Russell L Levine
    May 29th, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks for the great article and pictures. All the best to you and the family as well.

    Russ and Sharon Levine

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