A Pianist's Ultimate Sacrifice: Giving It All To Go To War | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

A Pianist's Ultimate Sacrifice: Giving It All To Go To War

Play associated audio

In 2001, Daniel Hodd was 17 and starting a promising career as a concert pianist. But he also wanted to become a U.S. Marine.

"At 3 years of age, you walked over to the piano, and you just started playing," Evelyn Hodd tells her son.

He played until he was 17 and performed in the Metropolitan Opera Theater. Julliard offered him a scholarship. But Daniel decided to go to the military instead. He enlisted in 2002 and deployed to Iraq in 2003.

"That was devastating for me. And then, you had an accident," his mother says.

During training for his second deployment to Iraq in 2008, Daniel snapped three of his fingers in a vehicle door. He was told a broken finger would keep him from deploying.

"To hear that you can't deploy because of less that 1 inch piece of your body, just seemed absurd to me," he says. "And I had a couple dozen junior Marines who expected certain things of me. And I promised them I would get out there as soon as I could."

The specialist gave him two options, Daniel says: "You can either try some treatment plan, and you definitely won't deploy, or you just cut it off and you get on a plane."

"And I was like, 'Cut it off,' because ... I made a promise. I had to deploy," he says. "In some ways, that decision was difficult; in other ways it was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made."

Daniel says he would be a very different person if he had stuck with music school.

"But that's not a decision that I regret," he tells his mother. "I know that that hurt you, and I'm sorry."

But Evelyn Hodd says she's proud of Daniel, who's now a staff sergeant.

"The fact that you have given all to your country over what I wanted for you or even what you would've pursued — it says a lot for who you are," she says.

Audio produced for Weekend Edition Saturday by Yasmina Guerda.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

When Islamists Impose Their Will In 'Timbuktu,' One Family Resists

The movie, one of five Academy Award nominees for best foreign language film this year, is about radical Islamists occupying the city in Mali. Remarkably, it's often on the verge of being a comedy.
NPR

Multivitamins: The Case For Taking One A Day

Multivitamins have gotten a bad rap. But studies suggest these dietary supplements may help plug the nutrition gaps resulting from our less-than-ideal eating habits.
NPR

Mitt Romney Won't Run For President In 2016

"I've decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee," Romney said in a statement to supporters, according to multiple news reports.
NPR

Media Outlets Partner With Snapchat To Appeal To Younger Users

As people disappear from the audiences of conventional news organizations, 11 media outlets have partnered with Snapchat in the U.S. to offer its younger users easily digested fare within the app.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.