MUNFORD, TN (abc24.com) - A war hero is home for his first Christmas since he was nearly killed in IED explosion in Afghanistan.
Munford Marine, Cpl Christian Brown, lost both legs and nearly his life last December. Abc24.com was the only news outlet invited into Brown's home for the holidays.
On Christmas Eve, Brown's brother, sister, mother and step-father sat in a circle as his younger brother played worship songs on his guitar. That skill was the last thing he taught his brother before he was deployed. Since Brown can't bend his fingers, for now, he'll listen to his brother play.
This Christmas is unlike any other for Corporal Christian Brown. "I've seen a lot and had to grow up quick to endure the things I've been through," Brown told abc24.com.
On December 13, 2011 the Marine stepped on an IED; he was awake and conscious the whole time. "I've racked my brain so many times trying to think how many different ways it could have played out... it'll drive you crazy thinking about that," he says, "I try to push past it, there's nothing I can do to change it, I have to find the things I love and hold tight to those."
Brown says it took him a long time to come to that conclusion, "First I had mixed emotions, I felt like I would have rather died." He would have still been known as a hero, he would have died a warrior. "I think it was out of hurt because I didn't want to have to live like this with restrictions."
His mother Lyn Braden-Reed recalls, "Last December was terrible." She's been by his side throughout every step of his recovery. Last year she thought Christmas Day would be the day she said goodbye. "Last Christmas Eve and Day we almost lost him two or three times, that was his worst day after he came home from Germany." But Brown fought, and he continues to fight. He adapts and overcomes, and every day he grows stronger. "I'm starting to get past it," Brown says, "It's much better to be around and enjoy the things and people you love."
This Christmas that's exactly what he's doing, surrounded by the people he loves. He's determined to push forward so maybe next Christmas he can play guitar at his brother's side.
Brown will be home for 30 days before heading back to Maryland where he will continue treatment. He expects to spend at least another eight months in rehabilitation before returning to Tennessee for good.