Isaac Corbitt, the outstanding harmonica player with The Corbitt Brothers and with The Corbitt-Clampitt Experience, shared this the other day. It is so special and so heartfelt that we asked him if we could share it. Isaac readily agreed.
I feel as though I should share this life-changing experience I had recently.
I got the honor of meeting a real-life HERO. I won’t mention his name for many different reasons, but he changed my life for the better.
I was at a venue that I was playing, and a friend said he wanted to introduce me to an amazing human being. Upon meeting this man, he shook my hand with a certain and confident non-aggressive fierceness. He immediately had my full attention. We talked for a brief moment when my friend told me that this man had known his (my friend’s) son who died in Afghanistan protecting his country. He went on to tell me about the accomplishments of the man I was meeting, in front of the man, and I could instantly tell the slight uncomfortableness of the man.
This man has served 18 tours to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as MANY other battles, and currently has 7 PURPLE HEARTS!
His leg was shredded from his knee to his abdomen as well as plates in his head from multiple IED explosions; he had multiple gun shot wounds from an AK-47 on different occasions.
He is only in town for 10 days to meet his seven-month-old baby and attend the funeral of a fallen soldier. I met him when he had been in the states for about four hours.
We talked for a little while about how crazy my life is on the road playing music and for a short time about his crazy life as a decorated war hero. He asked me what my favorite thing about my life was, and I said the only thing that I could think of at the time which was that I love meeting amazing people everywhere I go, people that if not for music I would never meet. He thought about it for a second, then shook his head. He told me some cool stories, then ones about the hard times, that they don’t carry and food in the desert because of the weight, they just eat camels and wolfs and whatever they can find… or go hungry. I could see something different in this man’s eyes, but I couldn’t figure out what it was… almost a sadness. He told me that his dear friend (my friend that introduced us) spoke very highly of me, so he wanted to see me play the harmonica.
About that time I had to set up on stage, but the whole time I was setting up I couldn’t stop thinking about the guy I just met. I grabbed a harmonica and went back over to him. I told him that the harmonica changed my life for the better, and it can make me feel better in dark and lonely times. I told him that I wanted him to carry the harmonica with him when he’s out in the shit feeling lonely and wondering who is gonna try and kill him next.
He stared at me for a long moment and said that he couldn’t accept that from me. I saw tears welling in his eyes. I said that it wasn’t his choice, that I wanted him to have it. His eyes watered even more as he said that nobody had ever given him a gift like that, a gift that he can always carry with him even in dark times. I was feelin’ overwhelmed with emotions, so I walked away.
A short time later he motioned for me to come over to him. When I sat down again he stared at me again for a long time and started to tell me something special. He said, “In my life, I never see the good in people. I only see hate, anger and rage. I see death every day and stare it in the face. I have killed many people to protect this beautiful country and lost many close friends, brothers, of mine. I’m glad you are a pure soul and can spread light to people through your music. I have never met you and you never met me but you didn’t judge me at all.”
He then said that he wanted to give me something special to him. He took the ARMY SPECIAL FORCES pin off of his own shirt and handed it to me. We were both at the point of tears. I couldn’t believe he was giving that to me, because I have played for the ARMY RANGERS before and understand what it meant. I accepted his gift, and he said, “I don’t want you to think of me when you wear this; I want you to think of all the Americans that lay their life down every day.” He said, “We don’t get praise or rewards for a successful mission where people died; you only see the failed missions we do or the bad stuff the military does on the news. I want you to think of those people who are as passionate for freedom as you are for your music.”
I was trying not to cry in front of him, and I have the feeling he was too. I told him that I hope to see him again some day, and he simply replied, “You will never see me again. I am a ghost; I am SMOKE THROUGH A KEYHOLE.” I hugged him as hard as I could, and he embraced me back. I told him I loved him and will always cherish our meeting and then walked away. He stayed and watched us play for a while, but when a lot of people started coming in, he got uncomfortable and left.
I later found out so much more amazing stuff about the guy and that he worked for many years directly under the presidents and other huge things I won’t mention out of respect, and he has movies made about him.
A true HERO indeed.
I say all that to say let’s take some time and thank all the men and women defending us every day. I think I have big problems, but they seem so small compared to his.
So THANK YOU to all the wonderful people in our military! Thank you for giving me the freedom to play my music without being shot at!
Love you all!
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
And all we can say is… thank you for sharing, Isaac!