A soldier says don’t forget the families on Veterans Day

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -The memories are a year old, but still are fresh. "I feel very fortunate. When I look at the scene and I examine the photos they've taken. It's nothing short of a miracle that I'm still here," said Col. Christopher Colavita, the Executive Officer to the Executive Deputy to the Commanding General at Army Materiel Command Headquarters.

The photos Colonel Colavita is talking about aren't available for casual viewing. They show the death and destruction following a suicide bombing attack inside Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. It happened in November of 2016.

There are other photos of a memorial service for the two soldiers and two contractors who died in the bombing. Another soldier would eventually die from his wounds, but that would be back in the states. Colonel Christopher Colavita was in the group of 15 who were in the blast zone when the bomb was detonated. "My wounds were relatively minor to what everybody else's were. The gentleman to my immediate right was killed. People in front of me were seriously wounded and killed," said Col. Colavita.

The Colonel would recover from his wounds and would be the only one in the group who would be able to stay in Afghanistan. That's where he continued his duties as Commander of the First Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade. It's important to know that he would serve and now at Redstone Arsenal with laser-sharp memories of what happened in the bombing. "It's something I choose to remember. Every day I think about...every day I'm thankful to be alive," said Col. Colavita.

The Colonel is also thankful for the hundreds of people who turned out for a memorial dedication at Bagram Airfield. He was able to honor the men and women who were killed and wounded that day. Carrying on his duties in Afghanistan was part of his response to what happened. So are his feelings about Veterans Day, veterans and some other people too.

"The only thing that may be a little more remarkable than the American Soldier is the family that supports that American Soldier. They are just as committed to this nation. They have sacrificed more than most will ever know. If you choose to say thank you to a soldier, go the extra step and say thank you to their family, because they've earned that," said Colonel Christopher Colavita.