A Tearful "Thank-You"
A tribute and thank you dedicated to our aging veterans of WWII and the Korean War who helped preserve that victory - and a long overdue thank you to the veterans of the Vietnam War...
The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood! Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach, Fla. , eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event.
He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. 'I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing,' he said bitterly.
At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, 'Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you.'
Then the old soldier began to cry.
'That really got to me,' Bierstock says.
Cut to today.
Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach - a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band - have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful 'Before You Go' does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.
'If we had lost that war, our whole way of life would have been shot,' says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. 'The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them.'
The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren.
'It made me cry,' wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss 'the unspeakable horrors' he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach. 'I can never thank them enough,' the son wrote. 'Thank you for thinking about them.'
Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington. Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute - this after just a few days on the Web. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it. GOD BLESS EVERY veteran... and THANK you to those veterans who may receive this! CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO HEAR THE SONG AND SEE THE PICTURES: Before You Go
I had the pleasure and the privelege to live across the street from a WWII veteran for the last 6 years in NY before I moved back to Vermont. The stories he had to tell are just plain amazing.
It's funny that you would post this today, because I just called him last night to see how he's doing.
I doubt we have many (if any at all) WWII vets on this forum, but there's a good chance you know one. If you do, spend some time with them. It will enrich your's and your family's life. I know my daughter's are better for knowing him.
Thread Moved To Bob Ford's Place.
He would have wanted it here.
I shoot twice a month with a gentleman that was a tank commander at the Battle of the Bulge. He killed 5 Tigers in two days. He has some tremendous stories, but he is in his mid 80s, and I dread the day...
My Step-Dad died Christmas of '02, he was a 20 year Air Force Veteran. A couple of years ago Mom met and married another military man, a WWII Navy Veteran who served on a sub chaser in the Atlantic Fleet. He's 84 and gets around better than any of us, we're blessed to have him in our family.
My Uncle's (by marriage) father was a WWII vet. I called him Grandpa Ray even though he was not my biological grandfather.
I met him at a picnic my real grandparents hosted for the entire family and for some reason he took a real liking to me and I to him.
He never talked about the war, only of his children and his wife who had proceeded him in death.
When he found out that I had seen my fiance off to war he took me out to dinner and for hours we sat there and he talked about it. He told me stories that had tears streaming down my face and showed me pictures he said he'd never shown anyone before. He encouraged me to keep the faith and to love my Marine unwaveringly until he got home.
From then on, at every family get-together, he would save a seat beside him for me and I felt honored to sit in it. He would continue his stories and rave that I reminded him of his wife when she was young (which I took as a great compliment) and that if it were up to him he would adopt me as his grand daughter.
When I took part in a Veteran's Memorial service hosted by our church I could think of no better veteran to invite than my Grandpa Ray.
When time came to ask the Veterans to stand at the front of the church and be recognized for their service I had tears in my eyes as I watched Grandpa Ray lay aside his canes (both of them), puff out his chest, walk to the front of the church and stand there as the congregation filed past to give their personal thanks.
When we met up again after the service he threw his arms around me and wept. He said that in all of the years since he'd returned from the war he had never had one person shake his hand and say, "Thank you," until that night.
He thanked me for inviting him and less than five years later he was gone.
I wrote a piece about him after he was gone and my mother shared it with his son who later told my mother that he had never seen anyone touch Ray's life like I had. To his knowledge, Ray had never talked about the war to anyone but me and though he admitted to being a little jealous Ray had never confided in him, he was glad his father passed on that piece of himself to someone before he died.
I'll always remember Grandpa Ray with the warmest of affections and I'm blessed to have helped honor him before he passed.
I wish they weren't a dying breed. I wish we could have them all for another 150 years.
My Great-uncle is a WWII vet and flew in a few bombers during WWII. He never spoke of it normally, although bits and pieces came out over the years (usually when he was too drunk to realize he let things slip). We had a family gathering after my grandfather passed last year and we were going through some books he had on his shelf. One book was about the new Air and Space museum in Dulles Virginia.
While we were all sitting around the table passing around the book, he began to weep openly (something none of us had ever seen). When asked what was wrong his response was: "That's my plane". We hadn't thought about it beforehand, but the pictures of the aircraft at the new museum had one in it that he immediately recognized and brought back long-lost memories from long ago. One of the planes he flew in overseas during the war is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum here in VA.
At some point in the near future we're going to try to get together again(he lives in Ohio) and get him over there. He wants to see his plane one last time.
Originally Posted by limatunes
That is the sad thing about society today. Most people do not appreciate what others sacrificed for them to have the freedoms that they have. They do not realize how much a simple thank you with a hand shake or a hug means to someone who lived through such tragic events. For your Granpa Ray to have gone that long without that recognition is truly heartbreaking.
Both of my Grandads served proudly in the war; On my moms side he was a "hump pilot" in the army air corps, and on my father's side, a captain in the USMC, seeing action at Bougainville, Okinawa and occupying Japan after the war. The most interesting acquaintance occurred though, back in 1997, shortly before the movie "saving private Ryan" came out. I was reading the Steven Ambrose book "citizen soldiers" in anticipation of seeing the movie, due to be released in a few weeks, when we got some new neighbors across the street. They were an elderly couple who had moved down to be closer to their childrens' families. I helped out with yardwork when I could, but the old man was stubborn, insisting he could take care of it himself. As the weeks went by, we finally got to see Private Ryan, and around that time, we were invited to have dinner at our neighbors house to help the old man celebrate his 80th birthday. His son was active duty in the army working over at BAMC here in San Antonio, and we got to talking about Private Ryan, which he had seen the day after we did. While we were reveling in the movie, I happened to mention to the old gentleman that I was reading the book "citizen soldiers", and asked if he had read it. He smiled and replied that he didn't need to, because he lived it. Then he took me into his office, where a shadowbox his son had made for him, complete with his silver star w/oak leaf cluster, his bronze start and 2 purple hearts all mounted below his M-1 carbine service weapon (he was allowed to purchase after the war)was prominently displayed. On the right were his unit and theater patches, as well as his coveted 82nd Airborne patch from his uniform and issued dagger. After that evening, I spent many afternoons talking with him, until one afternoon, he didn't wake up from his afternoon nap. they buried him with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston cemetery, about 100 yards from where, as circumstance would have it, my Grandpa (USMC) is buried.
I am truly honored to have known such men in my lifetime; It is obvious to me, however, that we are turning our country over to lesser men.
My father left for the war a farm kid and returned from the war a veteran of three years of combat and five amphibious assaults in the south pacific. It left him a pretty hard man and he never really got on well with most of the family after that. Of all the kids I kept the closest to him despite a lot of things. It wasn't untill just before he died that I got to hear a little of what had happened those years, much of it just stayed buried. What I learned was enough.
My mother was engaged to a young man who became a navigator in europe who was lost on a mission.
I wish they would teach a whole lot more of the realities of our history to those coming up in school these days to understand the sacrifices that have given them what they have. I did my two hitches in the height of the cold war right after 'nam for which I was reviled and insulted. Non the less I did my duty as well. I thank God we still have those who will do theirs.
My wife's uncle was a paratrooper in the D Day invasion. He has some amazing stories he tells.
I salute those freedom bearers. I saw the WWII monument in Washington D.C. recently. Very moving, with so many different campaigns and theaters listed. It was like nothing we have gone through.
I remember soldiers marching in parades when I was young. I don't see that any more. I hope it still happens someplace in our country.
To my father,( now deceased WWII vet ) and all of our brave vets who have served our country, I humbly salute you!:usa: