BALTIMORE -- After the Red Sox' visit to the White House, the team visited Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, a trip that was every bit rewarding as -- though, obviously, different than -- their time spent with President Obama.
"It was pretty special,'' said Jonny Gomes of the visit with injured veterans. "They don't want any sympathy. That's what it's all about. (They say), 'Don't come into this room feeling sorry for me; I signed up for this job.' It's something special and it's something that all Americans should do at some point in their lives.
"It's easy for us to do it. Gosh, it wasn't back-breaking for us to get in there. But to see the effect it had on them was pretty special.''
Gomes nearly enlisted with the Marines in 2001 and found himself asking, "Which one of these guys would have been me? Would it be the tombstone? Would it be the guy who's the double-amputee? Would it be the guy who's still over there?''
"That puts life in perspective,'' said John Farrell. "When you see what others have fought for and what they've personally sacrificed, it's a moment when you really pause to recognize what's important. It's humbling and it's grounding.''