The Names People Play
Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 11/21

Saving Private Abby

Toy soldier By Julie Obradovic

Almost a decade ago Steven Speilberg directed an Academy Award winning film most remember well: Saving Private Ryan. The story was simple and powerful. The government, having realized one family, and specifically one mother, had lost several of her boys in combat during the Second World War, felt obligated to protect her from losing another. They felt so obligated in fact, that they delegated an entire group of soldiers to change course, risk their lives and pursue nothing other than securing his safety. Some of those men died as a result.

Think about that for a second.

It was during a war, not just any war, but arguably one of the most gruesome, horrific, and dangerous wars mankind has ever faced, with everything at stake. In perhaps an unprecedented point in history, the world was truly faced with the potential of changing permanent course and not for the better. The human loss was staggering.
It was a scary, scary time. The enemy was identifiable and fierce. Our country was united, prepared, and dedicated. Men were drafted to participate in the war, but more often than not, were happy to enlist out of a sense of duty, obligation, and morality. Women at home lined up to do their part for the same reasons. The “Greatest generation” was more than willing to do whatever needed to be done, to sacrifice whatever needed to be sacrificed for the greater good.
And yet….and yet, and yet, and yet….in spite of everything there was to lose, even they acknowledged there was a limit on what one person was expected to give. Even they acknowledged that sometimes certain sacrifices are too much to ask of certain people. Even they acknowledged, sometimes those who give all deserve an exception.

This is something I have pondered for years given the similarities of any military based war and our current War on Disease. All wars are fought with the same mentality, whether it is the War on Terror or the War on Drugs. There is an expressed concensus that the ends always justify the means, the potential loss of the war assumed so much more catastrophic. Any means necessary becomes the status quo; those who question that, rebellious cowards without honor.
Such has been the case throughout history and still today, as evidenced by the current thinking about combating infectious disease. It’s mankind against the virus, all consequences of battle acceptable given the outcome is its ultimate defeat. The best we have to offer strategically comes in the form of good personal care, common sense, and a little something known as the vaccine, once referred to as “the mighty sword”. Employment of all 3 by all humans is not only encouraged, it is expected. Much like accepting being drafted to military combat in previous generations, we are all expected to dutifully do our part. To not do so is met with resentment and indescribeable disgust.
Selfish. Hateful. Unworthy. Immoral. Unethical. Irresponsible. Sinful.
These are the terms commonly used to describe someone who refuses to join forces on the front line of defense, specifically via vaccine. How dare you put others at risk? How dare you think of yourself over others? My God, at what point do you put your own rights aside and just do the right thing?
It’s not just the questionable science regarding vaccine safety we are debating; it’s more the mentality that when it comes to infectious disease, we are all supposed to be on the same side, fighting for our very survival. That unless we all band together to battle such a dangerous foe, we won’t be successful. That in this one instance we must think of the greater good over our individual safety. That by not doing so, we weaken the entire army, not only individually, but wholly, selfishly living under the protection others provide without giving the same sacrifice in return. That no matter what the consequence of using the "mighty sword", the consequence of not using it is far worse.
And yet….and yet, and yet, and yet…at no point during or after the film was released did I hear anyone suggest that Private Ryan didn’t deserve saving. No one suggested that he was being selfish, or dangerous, or immoral, or sinful by being allowed to sidestep direct combat, living freely in the comfort and safety others were providing for him. As mentioned, it was our government who put the value of his life over that of the greater good in that particular instance. The individual was more important than the whole.
Yes, some of the soldiers assigned to the duty were frustrated that their own lives were being used to accommodate his rescue, but it was only momentarily that any of them suggested the mission wasn’t worth it. In fact, it was Private Ryan himself who initially refused to be saved, wanting more than anything to honor the memory of his fallen brothers by continuing to fight. Even he didn’t recognize that he wasn’t being saved for his own sake, but for his mother’s.
My family was drafted like yours in the War on Disease. In the early 1970’s, my mother enlisted my brothers and I, not only to fulfill our obligation to society but more important and more realistic, to protect us individually from dangerous disease. In the late 90’s, early 00’s, I followed in her footsteps with my own children for the same reasons. I trusted that the war was real, that the enemy was fierce and worthy, that the consequences of not enlisting far outweighed the consequences of doing so, that those who accepted our enlistment did so with the greatest concern for our safety, and that in the event something went wrong, we would be cared for. I was wrong on all accounts.
I showed up to every appointment on time, never missed one for anything including illnesses, and dutifully accepted that I was doing the right thing for all the right reasons. I never questioned authority, following orders precisely. I am not nor ever was a draft dodger; quite the contrary.
But as a result of our service, I am the mother of 1 moderately wounded and 1 critically wounded soldier. Their health, their life’s potential, and their overall quality of life has been forever altered for the worse, although we will never cease in the attempt to recover them fully. My children are heroes in the War on Disease. So am I. So is our family. We fulfilled our moral obligation ten fold. 
It wasn’t until their egregious injuries for having joined the front lines were dismissed and ignored that I realized I had been misled. I became angry, hurt, dismayed and outspoken at the casualness with which their lives were cast aside as acceptable collateral damage, and truly, so, so needessly. I was sickened and forever changed by the incomprehensible betrayal of my government and medical community.
It wasn’t until then I began to warn others of our painful fate, urging them to be more cautious and informed than I had been; warning them that unlike a soldier wounded in combat that will be medically treated and forever honored for their sacrifice, whether injured by enemy or friendly fire, injured soldiers in the War on Disease received no such respect or reverence. In fact, more often than not their injuries weren’t (and still aren’t) even acknowledged, let alone treated.
I believe I will never understand how the life of a person who is harmed or killed by infectious disease is more valued than the life of a person who is harmed or killed by the effort to prevent it. And I believe I will never stop advocating for the later for that very reason. The current dissent we are experiencing stems from those who feel the same. (Which begs the question, who really is unethical here? Those who value only the first, or those who value them both?)
In the end, I sacrificed 2 of my children to a war, just like the mother in Saving Private Ryan. When they asked me for my third, however, it was simply too much to ask. Mrs. Ryan wasn’t selfish, immoral, unethical, or sinful for wanting to keep her last remaining child safe from danger, and neither am I.
Her name is Abby, and I saved her from the front lines not only for her sake, but also for mine. Because sometimes, yes, just as our government believed then, even now there are times the individual is indeed more important than the whole. Even now, families are being asked to give up too much; in fact, it happens once every 20 minutes. 
But most important I chose to save her because the day our family’s honorable service was dishonored as imaginary, irrelevant, and deserving of nothing, the day we did nothing more to serve.
Julie Obradovic is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism



I actually tried several times to write a post using this same analogy but never could put it together as well as you have.

I often think of the phrase, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." and how we're employing desperate measures, like vaccinating all babies with HepB on their day of birth, despite no hint of desperate times.

I also think of Oppenheimer and his words following the first sucessful test of his bomb, "I am become death, destroyer of worlds" and I wonder if anyone will ever have that same moment of recoginition, the recognition that their lifetime of effort towards something that they deemed to be vitality important was in fact a disaster of unthinkable proportions.

I am proud to a conscientious objector in the war on disease.

In my world too

Julie, very powerfully said. Thank you.

James' mom in MN

Wow. This is so powerful and such a good analogy. I don't know what role vaccines played in my son's regression into autism, but I wasn't willing to find out with my daughter. We immediately stopped all vaccines and she is our "Abby". Thank you for writing this for all of us fighting for the chance for our children to live their lives.

Bad penny

Our casualty is Conor. Still fighting the recovery battle.
Our Ryan is his brother Liam. I think Liam in the end will heal us all. It is a big burden for the sib's to bear but he heals me every time I see his devotion to his big brother. Unconditional love heals a lot of battle scars.
This was a beautiful read and I thank you for so elequantly writing what so many of us feel but are not talented enough to express. Keep up the good fight.

Louise Kuo Habakus

Our Abby's will be the next generation of children. My grandchildren. There's hell to pay. I will do hand to hand combat for as long as it takes because I will NEVER, and I repeat NEVER, go through the experience of vaccine injury again. Powerful and devastating, Julie... thank you.

Virginia Lee

Our "abbeys" are 4,2, and 8 months. Their older brother, 6, is 98 percent recovered! Thank you God, Dr. Rimland, Dr. Cave (our sons doctor), and the DAN! family of parents and practicioners. Not only are our 3 saved from injury, but hundreds more we have impacted. I give out Dr. Tim OSheas book "the Sanctity of Human Blood" as baby showe gifts. We have 78 people on our vaccine info email list, and growing. (4 on the list are pediatric nurses). Keep up the great articles! You just never know who they are being forwarded to.
Blessings to all this Thanksgiving!


How do i put this article on my Facebook page!!!!

Isaacs Grandma

I can't think of anything else to say.


Great article,great analogy

Cynthia Cournoyer

There should be "Abby's Law." Universal conscientious objector for all.

Rochelle School

My Abbys are Evan, Taylor and Travis. They are my grandchildren. They have all been saved by their uncle Rodney.


Wow. I'm with the chorus. You should publish. Very moving.

My "Abby" just turned five.

Cathy Jameson

Wonderful article. It reminded me of another one of my favorite movies-"The Fighting Sullivans." Here, brothers heroically defended out country while serving's a powerful movie (and I won't give away the ending in case someone wants to see it). Protocols were changed due to their story. An understanding was offered with respect for future service people. There was no shunning or name calling.

Personally, I have two 'Abbys' after sacrificing a now critically wounded and a formerly wounded. I got smarter with my children's health when my son got sick. I asked questions, got informed and started sharing our story. Some people will never listen or attempt to understand. On the days we find ourselves back on the battle field (peds' office-ha!), the nurses go through the check list of what's the problem, what are the symptoms, who do you fill your scripts with and are the shots up to date? There are days I get 'the look' from some of the staff when I smile and remind them we don't vaccinate-thank-you-very-much. They make me feel like I am wearing the Scarlet Letter though as I dodge from the daggers coming out of their eyes.

Thank you so much for writing this. It will be shared!

Maria Durci

You are a talent that the Autism world and the world beyond needs. Thank you for your wonderful writing.

Sue M.

My "Abby" will be 6 in January. His 'medical file' is one page long with mostly height/weight info. Nothing much to note and no chronic illnesses.

I had to learn the hard way through my older two... The files for my older two are pages upon pages upon pages long - complete with autoimmune diseases, multiple hospitalizations and recommendations for Developmental specialists...

Thank goodness I figured it out in time for my little guy!

Sarah C

My "Abby's" are 3 and 1 and were saved by all you warrior parents who have been through and are going through the trenches of The War on Autism. If it wasn't for all of you here @ AoA, Generation Rescue,TACA...and all of the information(THE TRUTH) that you all provide,my boys would be sacrificed as well. I am forever grateful. Thank You.
Sarah in Ohio

Angela Warner


As an outspoken military spouse, and advocate for our children I have had to, many times, pull myself back from the ledge of borderline rage at some of the comparisons that have been made over the years between children with autism, war, and those who serve to protect our country.

Your column is the most poignant and dead on analogy I've ever read on the issues surrounding our children, definitely your best column EVER, and one of the most moving columns on Age of Autism to date.

Thank you for sharing this with all of us, Julie. Excellent and a big hug to you!


We also have an"Abby." She just turned 7. Her brother saved her.

Kevin Barry

Our "Abby" turns seven soon. He's perfect. He was saved by his older brother, and therefore will live the life God intended for him. KB

JB Handley

Our "Abby" turns three soon. She's perfect. She was saved by her older brother, and therefore will live the life God intended for her. JB


I really liked this article! I too am on a similar journey. My middle son developped ASD immediately after receiving 4 shots while sick and running a temp (doctor prescribed antibiotics the same day he gave him the MMR and Men. C. Conjugate!) Now I'm recoving Private A, and Saving Private J!

Renee Tag

This is painful to listen to. I would like to see this arrogant group of bafoons exposed.


powerful piece, Julie.
"sacrificed for the greater good." BUT!!!!, what if "herd immunity" is not true when it comes to vaccination? Only active disease.(the vaccinators extrapolated the idea). Since hearing Dr. Palevsky talk about this crucial point I am really waiting for more analysis on it. Of course this won't be coming any time soon from the drug companies. LOL. Perhaps that business model company that's just figured a possible reason for a vaccine ingredient to cause autism will have to brain this("herd immunity" and vaccination issue) out and then SHARE it with the scientists.
I hope all your kids do well.


Julie, this was moving and apt. My sweet boy was sacrificed to this war as well. He has rallied and risen in spite of his injuries. I hope someday all our children will be treated and recognized, not only for their injuries but for their struggle and drive to rise above it. Proudly walk with your conscientious objector on your shoulders and know your soldiers are embraced by many for all they have given.

Anne Dachel

Wonderful analogy.
I compare our situation with Winston Churchill's in the mid 1930s.
The 2002 film,The Gathering Storm
was about his efforts to warn Britain that Hitler was preparing to go to war. NO ONE WANTED TO HEAR ABOUT IT.
He continued to make his speeches, the lone voice of truth. Everyone else talked about peace and appeasement.
It's a lot like us calling autism an epidemic and linking it to unsafe vaccines. It's a message no one wants to hear, but it doesn't change reality. The autism numbers are real and they're going to overwhelm us just like an enemy invasion.
Our job will be to make it clear that these children are victims of medical malpractice.
Anne Dachel

Robin Nemeth


Excellent, as always.

I wonder if the other soldiers, the ones with the guns, are starting to wonder if they too are as expendable as the children you speak of. I wonder if they're starting to question whether their government values their lives at all, beyond their utility as pawns.

I remember when the Walter Reed scandal broke a couple of years ago. I remember how angry I'd been in the previous few years at the treatment that parents dealing with autism had received by their fellow Americans-- the ridicule, the denial, the refusal to provide services or help of any kind. The censorship I encountered when I would so much as try to speak or write about the topic. (I’d spent six or eight years chatting on an internet political chat room that, as I understood it, was run by a paraplegic Vietnam veteran. That is until I was banned repeatedly and for longer and longer periods of time by one operator who I knew to be a public health official, and for no other reason than simply for speaking about thimerosal (and all the while those chatters who chose to partake in the most disgusting ridicule and ad hom were always welcome to stay no matter how obscene their behavior toward me.)) It became impossible for me not to feel that I was seeing some sort of karmic justice, when I would turn on the television and hear of veterans forced to stay in rat and mold infested rooms. It’s not that I felt it was impossible that each individual soldier might be innocent and undeserving of such atrocious treatment. It was more that I felt that my government, my country as a whole, was beginning to see some kind of just rewards.

I hear now about the rising incidence of suicide in our troops – even in military personnel who’ve not experienced combat. I know that I’ve been told that I shouldn’t speculate aloud about certain things, but I’ve never really understood the dangers in speculation, so I’m going to put this out there anyway. I’ve wondered if it’s no coincidence that the Ft. Hood shooting happened where and when it did – in a room full of hundreds of people who were all giving or getting vaccines and other medical care. At any rate, I’ve always been made a tad suspicious by claims that a person’s only motives when they’ve committed a crime are that ‘they’re muslims who hate Americans’, or even simply ‘he just hates the United States’. And on my radio and television news broadcasts there seems to be nothing but blind acceptance that there could be no other possible motive. Not that I’m saying there IS another… only that it seems foolish to assume that there couldn’t be one, and that that is the ONLY perspective on this issue I ever seem to see presented by our news media.

I can sense that I’m starting to tread dangerous waters here and I want to say that I don’t think it’s right or sane to slaughter innocent people because you believe your government is really messed up.

Ah well, they say the first casualty of war is the truth. I think that the second casualty of this war has been our children, but the coming casualties are bound to be pretty extensive if the media in this country doesn’t shape up and start doing some real journalism.

A Mom

"...we are all supposed to be on the same side, fighting for our very survival. "

We cannot ever let anyone forget that it is the pharmaceutical companies that put neurotoxins in vaccines, and refuse to remove them, even though they know the carnage they have caused. They spoiled whatever good was in the vaccine program and they refuse to rectify it.


Wow, I am speechless Julie. Awesome piece. This is one I am sending to my family and friends, thank you very much for it.


Thank you so much, Julie. The analogy unfortunately fits. The medical authorities only think it's WWII, though the war on disease has actually begun to resemble Vietnam as we all know. I've read the followinng poem (written before 1926, referring to real conscientious objector that Cummings met in WWI) more than once since my children became injured.

i sing of Olaf glad and big
by e.e. cummings

i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but--though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments--
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your fucking flag"

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but--though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation's blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you.

Casey Ohlsson

Thank you so much for this, it's perfect. Do try to get it published! It explains exactly how I feel, and any Joe Schmo on the street could understand this wonderful essay.


excellent piece and powerful analogy. it's even worse that what you say. not only are we disrespected for our children's sacrifice. the people running the show at PHS are 'yellow berets' who would never put themselves in harms way and would dodge any draft!


This is one of the best, and most powerful, pieces ever written on AofA.

Well done and God bless you.

deb in il

Thanks for rallying the warrior parents, Julie! It's time for us to put on the combat gear and recognize who the true enemies are.


Wow! What a moving article. Please do see about getting it published.


Wow! That's the most eloquent explanation I've ever read regarding the position our families have been put in and the disrespect we've been treated with.

I would love to see this published and an editorial in a major newspaper or magazine.


As always, so moving Julie. I also have an Abby. I am so thankful I knew to save her in time to prevent her from going down my fallen soldier's road. Thank You for this!


"unlike a soldier wounded in combat that will be medically treated and forever honored for their sacrifice, whether injured by enemy or friendly fire, injured soldiers in the War on Disease received no such respect or reverence."


Where's my son's Purple Heart?

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