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Old guy were not always just old guys - sometimes it's surprising who they were and what they contributed. This may have been posted before - it's worth posting again.

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun
resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.

Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched
in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of
the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow
of the sun is a golden bronze now. Everybody's gone, except for a few
joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone
with his thoughts...and his bucket of shrimp. Before long, however, he
is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come
screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame
standing there on the end of the pier.

Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings
fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the
hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say
with a smile, 'Thank you. Thank you.’ In a few short minutes the
bucket is empty. But Ed doesn't leave. He stands there lost in
thought, as though transported to another time and place.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach,
a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the
stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way
down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the
water, Ed might seem like 'a funny old duck,' as my dad used to say.
Or, to onlookers, he's just another old codger, lost in his own weird
world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp. To the
onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can
seem altogether unimportant ... Maybe even a lot of nonsense. Old
folks often do strange things, At least in the eyes of Boomers and
Busters. Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in
Florida. That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero in World War
I, and then he was in WWII. On one of his flying missions across the
Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down Miraculously, all of
the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life
raft. Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough
waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most
of all, they fought hunger and thirst. By the eighth day their rations
ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and
no one knew where they were or even if they were alive. Every day
across America millions wondered and prayed that Eddie Rickenbacker
might somehow be found alive. The men adrift needed a miracle. That
afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a
miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military
cap over his nose. Time dragged on. All he could hear was the slap of
the waves against the raft... Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on
the top of his cap. It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his
next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he
managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and
he and his starving crew made a meal of it - a very slight meal for
eight men. Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they
caught fish, which gave them food and more bait . . . And the cycle
continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to
endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued after
24 days at sea.

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never
forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull... And he never
stopped saying, 'Thank you.' That's why almost every Friday night he
would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a
heart full of gratitude.

Reference: (Max Lucado, "In The Eye of the Storm", pp..221, 225-226)

PS: Eddie Rickenbacker was the founder of Eastern Airlines. Before WWI
he was race car driver. In WWI he was a pilot and became America 's
first ace. In WWII he was an instructor and military adviser, and he
flew missions with the combat pilots. Eddie Rickenbacker is a true
American hero. And now you know another story about the trials and
sacrifices that brave men have endured for your freedom.

As you can see, I chose to pass it on. It is a great story that many
don't know...You've got to be careful with old guys, You just never
know what they have done during their lifetime.

Fully Story:

Eddie Rickenbacker and Six Other People Survive a B-17 Crash and Three Weeks Lost in the Pacific Ocean.

34,034 Posts
My mom worked for Eastern Airlines for many years and we took advantage of the very cheap employee passes, something like $2 for standby tickets. One particular flight to Miami she asked me if I knew who a certain distinguished elderly gentleman in a seat was. "That's Eddie Rickenbacker." I knew of his WWI status as a pilot but nothing of his post Great War years.

53 Posts
and also.....

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
On November 1, 1927, Rickenbacker bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which he operated for nearly a decade and a half, overseeing many improvements to the facility.[61] Once the Speedway operations were under control, Rickenbacker looked for additional opportunities for entrepreneurship, including in sales for the Cadillac division of General Motors, and for various aircraft manufacturers and airlines. After the 500-mile (800 km) race in 1941, Rickenbacker closed the Speedway due to World War II. Among other things, holding the race would have been a waste of valuable gasoline, rubber, and other resources.[62] In 1945, Rickenbacker sold the racetrack to the businessman Anton Hulman, Jr.
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