Police Officer Completes Traffic Stop On Veteran For Flag In His Car
Cailyn Finkel 3/6/2018
When our brave men and women in uniform return home after months overseas, they have emotional and mental baggage that many of us couldn't even imagine. Sadly, a large number of veterans come back with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While some servicemen and women seek out help for their troubles, many don't and their symptoms go unchecked.
Thankfully, William Jazwinski knew that he couldn't go through life without dealing with his problems. The former Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Operator for the United States Army had a brain full of painful memories that came back with him after a 15-month tour in Iraq.
Despite the pain of his service haunted him, William never considered removing the flag from his truck dashboard. Fighting for his country was an honor, but he never thought being proud of his service would make him a target for law enforcement.
From accounts of his tour, William was a gallant soldier who was willing to do anything for his fellow servicemen. The long, hot shifts in the Iraqi desert and the demanding training schedules brought his battalion together in ways they never imagined. For William and his team, there was nothing that could deter them from their mission.
Even though his dedication to his duties was obvious, the time spent overseas was rough. He saw things that no one should ever have to encounter and the months spent away from his loved ones was a challenge. Through all of the sadness and homesickness, William remained proud of his service!
So when William's tour was finished, he returned home and drove his truck with a properly folded United States flag resting on his dashboard. Doing so was the perfect way to keep the lessons learned overseas at the forefront of his mind!
William's perspective on the flag in his truck changed when he was stopped by a local police officer. Just as the officer's red and blue lights went on, William looked down and saw that he wasn't speeding. What could this be about?
The soldier pulled over and had his license and registration ready - but that's not what the officer was looking for.
In an emotional Facebook post, William explained the officer's reason behind the traffic stop:
"Me: Good morning, Officer. Was I speeding?
Officer: Good morning, no not speeding. Just wanted to stop ya and say thank you for your service.
Me: Oooh the bumper sticker, nice. Your welcome, Sir. My pleasure.
Officer: Where did you serve?
Me: I went to Iraq. Did a 15 month [stint]. Out of Fort Benning.
Officer: Well, alright. My son went to Iraq. He didn't make it home."
"Me: Man, I'm so sorry to hear that. I just finished a PTSD program.
Officer: I see you have a flag in the truck. The one we got for him? Well it's at the house. Can I ask a question?
Officer: Do you mind stepping out and receiving a hug? You remind me of my son. I pulled you over. I thought you were him. I still don't believe it most days he's gone.
With tears in both our eyes, I got out and hugged that man. I'm talking about for a minute or two crying. Down to our knees crying. I needed that.
To all the family and friends of soldiers, fighting or done fighting, God bless you. Your peace and your hearts. It's so hard without them, I know. This road is a tremendous one. Love to all."
All the officer wanted to do was give William a well-deserved hug and show his support! Losing a child is one of the most difficult things in the world - and knowing they were so far away from family was crushing.
Thankfully, the encounter with William was able to give the officer chance to focus on his faith and the goodness of strangers.
The moment William returned home, he took a picture of the flag in his truck (seen above) and shared it online.
William had no idea that his story would inspire so many other people around the country.
Since posting his heartwarming words online, it's been shared 179,000 times and liked by more than 210,000 users. Obviously, the moment between the officer and William strikes a chord with everyone!