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"I died and I was born again". Some few words that summarize the National Army Second Sergeant Francisco Pedraza thoughts that in spite of having lost his two legs combating terrorism he has not been felt conquered and of the hand of his relatives he continues in his fight. After running 10 kilometers in wheels chair in the last Bogotá Marathon, he related his testimony for the 'Anonymous Heroes' on line section.
How to resist to the loving look of two pairs of eyes? How to hide to four hands that look for unfailingly to caress? How to ignore two small persons that only hope to have their dad so that he makes them laugh?
This is what he thought while my children applied me cold cream in my hands in the hospital after the accident. A landmine removed my two legs, but not my will of living.
On September 2 2004 we were doing an area registration in La Union Peneya surroundings, in Caquetá, in order to evacuate two soldiers that had been wounded in those combats and to four terrorists that were killed.
I told to my explosive’s soldier to go towards the side of a gulch that was a few meters from us and immediately he turned we listen to the metals detector hooter followed by an explosion. We all flew several meters away due to the explosive wave.
My reaction was to get up and run. When I put the hands to get up, my legs didn't answer. I lowered the look and I realized that the left leg was not there and the right one was fractured. I asked my troops how were they. I could hear their cry. After the explosion two soldiers, a corporal and I were wounded.
In that moment there was no pain. May things passed through my head, such as why me, my family, my future; when I arrived to my children, I said to myself: I have to live!
Forty five minutes the helicopter arrived. Until there I remember.
Fifteen days later I woke up. The pain in the legs was hard. I remember that, in bed, I pulled up the bed sheets and I didn't see anything. I covered myself quickly; I didn't want to see more. But the pains that I had made me look again. What I felt was not my legs, it was what were left of them.
It was a hard experience, immediately I thought in what will my life be from the on; reason had spent that to my; it was depressing me, when I fell in bill that it was alive. What else could I request, I didn’t die! God had allowed me to live and this was a second opportunity.
A few days after Francisco Alejandro and Julián Genaro, my twins, entered in the room on the sixth floor at the Military Hospital, the nurse allowed them to come in. When I listened to them I tried to cover myself so that they didn't see me; since I felt gunpowder in my hands I was trying to take it applying cream on them. They realized, they took the cream and with all the love of the world they carried on applying it to me. How to avoid four hands that look for unfailingly to caress?
I have always been cheerful, I like to tell jokes and to tease with people, in my family they know me like this, amusing. So I tried to be as how they knew me because I thought that for them would be worse if they see me be decayed, sad or depressed.
Their aunt tried to explain them that I had lost the legs and do they know which her answer was?: " we had already realized that my dad has his legs tiny".
They surprised me. The innocence with which they assumed the fact made me think that I had the life in my hands. It was a second opportunity and I couldn’t be sad to loose it. So I decided to change my objectives and to adjust them to the situation.
After leaving the hospital they took me to the Sanity Battalion to recover. There the days are long, cold and a lot of time to think.
One day I saw some of the many that went from one side to another in special seats. I asked the sergeant that was with them what were they doing. He answered me that they trained to compete in athletics. He got me the attention, so I asked for the schedules, the training place of and from January I am practicing with them.
I never imagined that he would find in sport a way to salvation. I have felt very well, every day I feel that I overcome myself and that I can go further. This, of Bogotá, is my second marathon. Seeing my children in the finish line waiting for me proud for what their dad achieved, doesn't have comparison.
Today, I can say that I owe to life this second opportunity. On September 2 is 1 year since I returned to life again, not one year of being amputated, but of this new life. That day I died and I was born with some new goals again.
To God I owe to permit me to be alive, I owe it to my children, they are my strength. They tell me "tomorrow will buy you new legs" and they push me the wheel chair. The children confronted the things for that my God gave them the strength to do it.
Now I pretended to demonstrate them that nothing can conquer me, I am the one that they knew. I am going to study psychology to help people like me or worse, to help them so that they understand that it is necessary to take advantage a lifetime, in my particular case, life.