June 7th, 2008 08:44 PM
Choked up at the grocery store yesterday.
I stopped and filled up the Cherokee at the Kroger gas station close to work (that was not what choked me up, it nearly killed me though) and then had to go inside the store to pick up a couple of items the wife had called and asked for.
As I pulled into the parking space and got out I saw a young fellow, maybe 25 years old, with a cart stop behind my car. He was wearing shorts, flip flops, a T-shirt, had long-ish hair with a scraggly beard. My mind immediately decided he was a hippy. I thought I knew what was coming next. You see, on the back window I have a decal that shows a B-52 in a circle making it look like a peace symbol, with the words "Peace, the old fashioned way" circling the whole thing. So I thought I was going to have to tell yet another hippy to buzz off. (Memphis has more than it's share of hippys and flaming liberals so I have had this happen before)
Instead, the man said he wanted to complement me on the decal and that he noticed it because he has the same decal on his car. He then pointed to my bumper sticker that reads "Persian Gulf War Veteran" and asked if I had indeed been in the Persian Gulf War and when. I said I had, and it was in 1991.
He then stuck out his hand, which I took and shook, told me "Thank you for serving our country and thank you for my freedom." Told me to have a nice day and we parted ways.
I was actually misty eyed and somewhat speechless when I was walking towards the store. I have told every veteran I meet and any active duty service member thank you for their service but this was the first time I had anyone, any civilian who was not a vet say it to me and I can tell you, it made a profound impact on me. 7 1/2 years, a war that most of the country doesn't think was that bad because we won so quickly and decisively, 2 destroyed knees and a permanent disability with a medical discharge against my will, and it was all worth it when that fellow that I had incorrectly pegged as a hippy told me thank you for his freedom.
So, just a reminder, say thank you to a vet or service member if you see one. It really does make a difference.
June 7th, 2008 09:01 PM
It would be my privilege and my honor to be the 2nd one to tell you!!!
but this was the first time I had anyone, any civilian who was not a vet say it to me
THANK YOU SIR FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR GREAT COUNTRY AND TO PROTECTING MY FREEDOM!
My son is currently 82nd Airborne. Every service personal I come across now, I personally thank them and have given several hugs. Had a young man in at work on Thursday. He had just arrived home from Iraq the day before. His wife/girlfriend was telling us how the Columbus airport had let all of the families go to a special place to greet their loved ones home. They didn't force them to go thru security. Yes, they had this Mom choked up.
THANK YOU AGAIN MIKE!
Member of the National Rifle Association's Board of Directors
ssociation Central OH Chair
NRA Instructor/CCW Instructor/Realtor
2009 NRA Sybil Ludington Women's Freedom Award Recipient
June 7th, 2008 09:01 PM
It's nice to be appreciated, and you deserve the gratitude.
2 weeks ago I buried my dad. He did two tours in Vietnam, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with a V device for valor. The Army sent an Honor Guard detail to present a flag and play taps, etc. I thought I had myself together and went over to the guys to say thanks for coming. As I reached out to shake hands, The first guy said in the most heartfelt and convincing manner: "It's an honor." I got the same from the other two men, as I shook their hands in turn. Not one of them seemed like a programmed response. If they're trained to say that in a convincing way, they did a hell of a job. That pretty much did me in. I had to walk away and stifle my emotions like only a man would.
June 7th, 2008 09:02 PM
GREAT story, thanks for sharing this with us, and as was just said ... Thank You For Your Service To Our Country". It hasn't gone unnoticed.
"Eternity is Too Long to be Wrong"
Texas CHL Instructor & Holder & Utah CFP Instructor
NRA Instructor & Life Member
Member TSRA, USCCA, TCHA
Christian, Heterosexual, Pro-2A, Pro-Life, Conservative, Common Sense American
June 7th, 2008 09:23 PM
Thanks, Mike. Thanks for the story and thanks for your service. In January 1991 as we were preparing for that war I had an awful hollow feeling. You see I was one of those guys who got caught in the RIF in 1974 when the military was downsized because we pulled out of Viet Nam. If I had been able to stay in like I wanted I would have been preparing for a war that would be utilizing armor. I was an armor officer and would have been in the thick of it. I'm not anxious to go to war, but I never got to use any of the training I received.
Then in May my wife played for the local military junior college graduation and I went with her. And like it was for the two previous years when I went with her, it was a bitter sweet experience. Great pride in seeing young men and women who are going to serve their country graduate and great sorrow because I can't stand their with so many of the faculty, staff, and visitors - in uniform. Some are still active duty and work in the military department or are visitors, but most are retired and work at the school or always come to the graduations to support the graduate. I don't have a lot of regrets in my life, but not being able to make the military a career is one. I understand to some extent your pain at being discharged against your will and am thankful that this incident was able to take away some of that pain.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein
June 7th, 2008 09:58 PM
Just a thought in passing. Some of those "hippy" looking people are Vietnam Vets, so please don't be to quick to judge, I resemble that remark.
It is always a great feeling to be appreciated.
June 7th, 2008 10:15 PM
Mike (and the several others in this thread),
Thank you all for your service to our Country. Many of us do indeed appreciate the sacrifices you have made for all of us to have our freedom today.
June 7th, 2008 10:51 PM
Cupcake, sorry about the loss of your Dad. My heartfelt condolences.
The fact that he was About 25 or so tipped me off that he wasn't a Vietnam Vet.
Originally Posted by raevan
Another quick story along the same lines. Last month, I was at Wal-Mart to pick up some milk and I saw an older gentleman who had a campaign hat on. I saw the word KOREA on it and I thought he must be a Korean War vet. He was the right age afterall.
So, I said excuse me and said thanks for your service and told him I was a Persian Gulf War vet myself. He then told me in a proud voice (as he should be) that he is a vet of 3 wars. It was only then that I realized his hat said WWII, KOREA and VIETNAM Veteran. My God, I was in the presence of a true American Hero.
I stood there and we talked for about 10 minutes. We shook hands and I went about my day truly feeling richer for having met and spoken to this man.
June 8th, 2008 12:07 AM
Active, retired, and former military personnel don't get enough thanks for their service to this great nation. When I worked at McDonalds I gave a 10% discount to anyone with a military base sticker on their car as my way of saying thanks. The manager didn't like it, but I didn't care.
Thank you for your service btw!
USMC rule # 23 of gunfighting: Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
I am the God fearing, gun toting, flag waving conservative you were warned about!
June 8th, 2008 12:18 AM
Great story! and, thank you.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "he that would supplant a little liberty for a little safety deserves neither".
June 8th, 2008 01:05 AM
I never got over my extreme prejudice against hippies, and I am sometimes embarrassed by my prejudice when I discover a veteran who has been there and merely prefers a different dress style. However, if he puts on a peace symbol, that is like waving a Nazi flag in the face of a Jew.
Originally Posted by raevan
Then there are those who wonder about veterans' hatred for John Kerry because he chose to be a hippie protestor throwing away medals in 1972, not to mention his soft medals for his negligent self-inflicted wounds during his 1/3 tour of duty. Geez!
June 8th, 2008 01:07 AM
Smart Teacher - True Story
Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at in Robinson High School Little Rock did something not to be forgotten.
On the first day of school, with the permission of the school Superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom.
When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no “desks.”
Looking around, confused, they asked, "Ms. Cothren, where're our desks?"
She replied, "You can't have a desk until you tell me what you have done to earn the right to sit at a desk."
They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades." "No," she said. "Maybe it's our behavior."
She told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."
And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period.
Hmmm…still no desks in the classroom.
By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren’s Classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.
The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the "deskless" classroom, Martha Cothren said, "Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom.
Now I am going to tell you."
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.
Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk.
The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they walked over and stood alongside the walls.
By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.
Then Martha said, "You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks.
These heroes did it for you.
They placed the desks here for you.
Now, it's up to you to sit in them.
It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens.
They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education.
Don't ever forget it."
Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ
June 8th, 2008 02:42 AM
Okay that one made me cry,I served in the USAF after nam,but my dad served in Korea and Vietnam,when I think of all the men and women and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe,especially nowadays where we have thousands of people in harms way,sometimes thank you just doesn't seem like it's enough,God bless each and everyone of our soldiers sailors and airmen in harms way and those who are in faraway lands protecting us from those that would love to do us harm
Originally Posted by QKShooter
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
June 8th, 2008 05:16 PM
X2. Guess I've gotten old enough where I can admit such things.
Originally Posted by dukalmighty
In the 16 years that I wore the uniform, I only ever had two people in person thank me - and both I will never forget...
The first guy was in a junkyard in CO, where I was stationed for the last of 10 years of active duty. He needed help getting a part off an old truck (he clearly had a disability) and while I was helping him, he asked what I did for a living. I told him I was in the Air Force and he immediately stopped what he was doing, stood up straight as he could, and extended his hand. He shook my hand and thanked me (obviously from the bottom of his heart) for my service. He explained that he had tried to join, but his disability prevented his service which would have been in Vietnam.
The second time was while I was activated in the Reserves for 9/11 when stationed in MD. I was in uniform heading into the grocery store and a woman's shopping cart began to roll away from her vehicle while she was busy working inside the car. As the cart moved into the lane where traffic flowed, I grabbed it and rolled it back over just as the woman noticed it was gone. She was thankful to see someone brought the cart back to her, but when she looked at me and saw my uniform, she looked me in the eye and asked that God bless me for my service to our country and shook my hand.
A sincere thank you is one that will never be forgotten.
June 8th, 2008 06:37 PM
Dear Vets - this one is from a 51-year-old bearded bubba-type rather than a hippie:
I have known discomfort, but none like yours.
I have known hardship, but none like yours.
I have known sacrifice, but none like yours.
The REASON I haven't known it like you have is BECAUSE of your discomfort, hardship, and sacrifice.
I have known freedom, when you gave up the full exercise of yours for awhile under service to your country.
I have known security, when you were getting shot at.
I have known tranquility, when your own countrymen have taken cheap shots at you (I was a teenager during Vietnam).
I have known health, prosperity, family, and a home, when some of you have battled with great difficulty the aftereffects of your service, and lack some or all of these.
I grew up across the street from one of the few Pearl Harbor survivors. The next door neighbor had lots of stories to tell from the Navy. And my dad served in England, France, and Japan. I loved their stories... but I now know that they were telling the fun-to-remember parts.
I had a roommate whose dad (a pilot) never came back from Vietnam, and likely died in captivity as a POW. I prayed for both the son and the father.
When I taught, I met the Colonel and the Sergeant-Major who taught the Marine Corps ROTC class - finer men I have never met. I helped them a bit with calligraphy for the certificates they gave their students.
I have worked in soup kitchens and have seen some of you there... I was nice, but not nice enough.
I have watched some of you drive by in expensive cars now, with their VET license plates, and have wished for a car like that... when I should have thanked you for making ownership of a such a car possible for ANYTONE.
I've seen a few of you in parking lots driving less fancy cars (since that's where I shop), and seeing your VET license plates or bumper stickers I've stopped and thanked a few of you. Wish I could have done it better.
Hey, I just spent five minutes typing. Gosh, don't I feel like I made a sacrifice. Pfft. Well, it's pretty mouldy, but at least I thought through a few things afresh. Wish I could say "thanks" better to you folks, too.
May the Lord bless you. He knows how, and can do it. I'll be talking to him about you throughout the day, tonight, and in days to come.
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