My Daddy’s Heart is Purple: Helping Children Cope With War’s Inevitable Damage

  • Post category:SHOWS

RIGHT NOW w/Karl Porfirio: Your Daddy Didn’t Want to Leave You

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One of the most troubling of the outcomes of war is collateral damage that affects those often most distanced from the scene of original action after a soldier has paid the ultimate sacrifice for his or her country. Those among us most affected are the families, including the most vulnerable members: the children of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Often, insufficient means are available to tend to the wounded hearts of those left behind.

Karl Porfirio understands this struggle, and decided to do something about it. He says he wanted to help children understand what happened to their parent, whether killed or maimed. “I’m not a writer by trade… I had to explain to my grandson his father had a purple heart. That his father left this earth a hero. Many children can’t process death. They can’t process that a parent left them, not wanting to leave them, and I had to explain to my grandson ‘Your daddy didn’t want to leave you. He had to go live with the angels.’”  

Freedom is Never Free

Senior Airman Tre Porfirio was wounded in Afghanistan, taking three bullets to his back. They left him in critical condition and the many subsequent surgeries failed to save his life, though Walter Reed Medical Center made medical history in the effort. Tre lived for one year and one week after sustaining these injuries. His son, Landon, only 8 months old at the time, became a casualty of war as he was left without a father.

Karl Porfirio accepted the call to write a book to aide his grandson Landon and the children of other fallen soldiers in understanding the meaning of the Purple Heart. It is the medal awarded to those who have been wounded or who have given their life while serving in the military. He says many people don’t know that the image in the middle of the purple heart is of President George Washington, who was the one who came up with the award.

Remembering All Purple Heart Recipients

According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, August 7 was designated as Purple Heart Recognition Day in remembrance of that day in 1782 when President George Washington ordered that a medal be made of purple cloth in the shape of a heart. Originally named the Badge of Military Merit, many applauded the usage of the badge as it offered recognition to those who served meritoriously although not the most heroic.

Porfirio says it is his mission in life to make sure his son was not forgotten, along with other servicemen and women who gave everything for their country, because freedom is never free. “I feel our veterans are greatly overlooked. They’re never given the honor or the respect, I believe, that they’re due. It’s kind of become my cause. Every parent fears that people will forget their child… I have to make sure that my son is always remembered. It’s my job.”

In his book, Porfirio seeks to honor his son and others who have been injured while serving in the military and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. His words, written for children, will help them to grasp the significance of the meritorious award, to take comfort and to gain pride in the service rendered by their loved ones.

Visiting Walter Reed

When Karl Porfirio is asked to share his thoughts on the recent actions by President Donald Trump in eliminating terrorists such as Al Baghdadi and Soleimani, he says he is proud of his president, and that people should visit Walter Reed Medical Center. He had seen many wounded soldiers during his time at the Medical center, and gave us these words of wisdom:

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“If you ever go to Walter Reed, your life will be changed forever. You can’t imagine walking through that hospital and seeing those people, 18 year old kids, without limbs, in wheelchairs, scarred for life. The ones who are fortunate enough to make it. It’s unbelievable. Going through and speaking to them, keeping a stiff upper lip… It wasn’t even just my son. I couldn’t walk through the hospital without losing it. So I’m very proud of President Trump.”

That’s His Job

As far as the elimination of Al Baghdadi and Soleimani, Porfirio has no pity, and says that he is proud his president eliminated them. “I’m very proud of that. I’m very proud. If he eliminates that many more, he certainly doesn’t need my permission. And he certainly doesn’t need, in my opinion, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s permission. He’s protecting our country, he’s protecting our military. That’s his job as Commander in Chief, whether they want to accept it or not.”

“We put up with Obama’s rules of engagement, which were horrible. Obama told people like my son and all the other soldiers to play nice nice with the Afghan army, with people over there, and they were murdered. Many were murdered, and it didn’t get in the paper. The day my son was shot, you didn’t see it in the newspaper. You didn’t see it on the news. Of course not! It didn’t fit Obama’s narrative.”

Karl Porfirio doesn’t know if he will continue authoring children’s books, though his younger son tells him he is good at it, and should. This book was a labor of the heart for Porfirio, and he will continue with veterans advocacy. Karl says his grandson is doing fine now, and Landon’s stepfather (who is also military) has adopted him for his own.

Mary Freeman
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