The first bullet struck Cpl. Eddie Ryan above the right eyebrow and bored through the frontal lobes, the seat of personality and memory in his brain.
Traveling at about a half-mile a second, the bullet generated a shock wave that widened as it went. The pressure crushed brain cells into jelly. The hunk of metal slammed into the left side of his skull and shattered. A second bullet came from the opposite direction. It sliced through the back of his lower left jaw and burst out his chin.
Ryan collapsed on the Iraqi rooftop in Ramadi where he and two fellow snipers crouched. The Ellenville native was bleeding, unconscious, and bullets rained down around him. It was 7 a.m. April 13. Eddie Ryan was as good as dead. He was 21.
His parents were told he was a good as dead. That if he did miraculously live he would be a vegetable. If he did wake up he would never be able to speak, if he was able to speak he would be unable to remember them. Sargent Ryan's father said that he looked so bad that they could only recognize him by the tattoos they had deplored him getting.
They did not give up though. They talk to him all the time and prayed over him. A friend of theirs who became a pastor gave them some scripture to hold on to. Matthew 19:26: "With man this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." and a Psalm.
Later he recognized his dad and told him he loved him. He's doing well, and his goal? To get back into uniform and rejoin his unit in Iraq. My quick recap here can not recapture the deep faith and trust in God, or the pride love and gratefulness of Mr. Ryan when speaking about his son.