She received two standing ovations from the crowd of well over 1,000 in the audience – one when she took the stage and another after she told her story.
She spoke simply. She spoke with humility and grace. She told her story honestly. We needed, at some level, to hear what happened to her; and not only that – but we needed to hear her voice tell it. We wanted to hear not only the events, but how she felt, how she changed, how her story didn’t end – but continues to this day.
She told us about what the moment of attack was like – the sound of gunfire and the bright flash of light as a weapon tore her vehicle and part of her body to pieces. She told us about lying in the dirt waiting for transportation to a military hospital, and how her fellow soldier (a man under her command) bled into the earth next to her and asked her to tell his children he loved them. She talked about the dozens of surgeries it took to rebuild her body and her journey to becoming a leader and business entrepreneur.
She is strong. She stood up on stage, under lights and microphones, to tell us her story. And her story made me tingle. Brought tears to my eyes when I heard the pain, the calm reaction to such terror, and ultimately the deep desire to continue to tell her story to those who would listen.
There is power in story. There is power in stories as dramatic and heart breaking and inspiring as hers. But there is also power in YOUR story.
Have you told your story lately?