With American flags waving, well-wishers welcomed home Spc. Andrew Wilson with a parade through Williamson County late last year. The 24-year-old Brentwood native lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in October.
Only eight months earlier, Wilson's dad, mom and stepmom sent their son off to war. Their lives forever changed on October 19.
"I stepped on a pressure plate [improvised explosive device] in Afghanistan while on patrol," Wilson recalled, adding, "We were actually looking for IEDs. I lost both my legs; one above the knee [and] one below the knee."
The same day Wilson's mother had a premonition
"It was very vivid," Gay Bruner told Nashville's News 2. "I had no dreams prior to that about Andrew or anything bad with regards to him and being overseas and within 10 minutes we had that phone call."
"I don't really remember much of the initial blast," Wilson continued. "I was blind and deaf. I remember almost everything after it though."
He added, "Initially it was total devastation. No doubt about it."
"It happened on a Tuesday morning. I think at 10 a.m.," Bruner said. "We saw him on Sunday afternoon."
"It did not take long to realize that he was going to be okay," added Kim Wilson, Andrew's stepmom.
His dad, Cliff Wilson, said, "I went to Walter Reed immediately and the family shifted back and forth. I stayed with him for seven days, 15 hours a day in his room."
"We never got to connect like we did during that time," Cliff Wilson continued, "and it was almost a blessing for me to be able to spend that kind of time with my son and to get to know each other."
Today, Wilson is back at home in Brentwood, getting on with his changed life.
"Therapy is gong really well," he said. "Walking is getting a little better. [I'm] not as fast as I would like to be. I always want things to be faster. I'm impatient."
It is a changed life for Wilson's family as well as they keep trying to find their "new normal," as they call it.
Cliff Wilson said, "Just to see the look in his eyes, that he is being successful, that he sees progress, he sees he is going to be totally normal [and] he is going to live a total normal life."
"I am very determined to getting forward." Spc. Wilson said. "I am not going to let this injury stop me whatsoever."
"You know it is hard," said Kim Wilson, "but we could be having a much different conversation right now, a much different conversation of losing our child."
Bruner said, "He has set a goal to be up and walking, to look his buddies in the eyes when they come back from Afghanistan and he is going to easily do that."
Wilson is meeting his new challenges head-on and hoping to soon walking at a normal gait. He is determined.
"I think there is a great plan for Andrew and I am excited to see what that is," Bruner said.
Sgt. Wilson is an American hero. He sacrificed a lot to serve his country and he is not letting that sacrifice get in the way of his goal of living life.