Country Living Series

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A belated salute to our veterans

Many readers have commented that yesterday was Veteran's Day in addition to 11/11/11. I am so remiss to not have offered my accolades for military service! My husband is a vet, as is my father, as are many of our friends. To these men (and women) who have given of their time and talent, I offer my humblest gratitude and appreciation.

In belated recognition of our vets, I would like to reprint something someone sent to me last year, entitled "The Old Man" (with thanks the anonymous reader who reminded me of it).

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car. I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about 25 feet away.

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming, too, and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something.

The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman, saying, “You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.” And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, “Looks like you're having a problem.”

He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us, he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine, too. I nodded and asked the usual question, “What outfit did you serve with?”

He had mentioned that he served with the First Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife. I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station.

Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name: “Congressional Medal of Honor Society.”

I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served....and those who supported them.

America is not at war.

The U.S. Military is at war.

America is at the MALL.


  1. After posting my Grandpa's WWI photo yesterday, this story really got my attention. I posted the link to this in my blog.

    Thanks for the repost. May that young man get a big dose of his own obscene behavior someday when he's old.

  2. This is a day of reflection, not only to graciously honor all those who served in uniform to defer the evil waged against man and freedom, but also to reflect and give thanks for and to the millions of those who serve behind the lines in support of the servicemen and women.

    In our own household alone, we can count the loss of 7 family members since WWI due to wars. I'm sure there are more back to the Revolutionary War as well.

    This country cannot forget, ever, what these brave men and women and their families have contributed of themselves for each of us, to make this country what we liberty loving citizens so appreciate, and what so many non-appreciative, take for granted.

    Honor those that are living, and those that lost their lives and honor all the contributions allowed and afforded to us, as a result of their unselfish commitments made to our country, by supporting the return of our constitutional freedoms to our citizens.

    Don't let their precious sacrifices made for us, fall sullen in vain and waste.

    Get busy, get involved. Give thanks.


  3. Matt above sent me over here. Thank you very much for your post. I do hope the jerk in the escalade gets his someday.

  4. Well, you've managed to choke me all up again, Patrice! My wife Deb's grandfather, Virgil Dorr, fought in WWII. He was quite the amateur boxer and earned the nickname "Swinging Dorr." He served in the Army, the 551st Parachute Battalion, to be exact. The Marines seem to get most of the accolades, but there were quite a few Army heroes in WWII, as well as all the rest of the branches of our military!

    Virgil's 551st Battalion unit received the Croix de Guerre from the French government, signed by De Gaulle himself, for its part in the liberation of Draguignan. The citation reads:

    "An elite parachute unit of magnificent bravery and well-tempered morale. During the landing operations in Provence (South France), it found itself, on 16 August 1944, at Draguignan, completely cut off from the main body of the Allied Forces. Limited to its own arms, for 5 days, it endured the furious enemy attacks which were supported by a rain of artillery and mortar fire. In spite of heavy losses, it proceeded to attack, freeing Draguignan and taking numerous prisoners, among them several of high rank in the German Army."

    Virgil is now 92 and still going strong! What great men have fought and died for our nation and our freedom. It galls me to think of what our liberal-progressive leaders are doing to this nation that so many good people have given their lives for. We should never forget what our military -- the greatest in the world! -- has done to secure our freedom. We should all fight just as hard to carry on the great traditions and legacy of these heroes!
    --Fred & Deb

  5. Semper Fidelis. It means Always Faithful. I served with the Marines in Vietnam. I wasn't a Marine. I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman, affectionately and respectfully called Doc. I've a story or two, just like the one you've posted.

    Once a Marine, Always a Marine.

  6. Matt also sent me. Good story.
    I'll pass it on.
    (Virginia from southern Idaho. I'll get back home someday)

  7. Thank you ever so much for that post.

  8. 11/10/11 I went to the grocery store in a very bad mood. I wanted nothing to do with others and was having my own pity party. I got frustrated getting stuck in the isle behind an "old" man in one of those hover round go carts, he was in my way,,,then I noticed the back of his hat said VETERAN, I paused and as he turned around I noticed the front of his hat said KOREA, I didn't get the year because I was so ashamed of myself when I saw his two metal legs...God bless our Veterans, and I apologize.

  9. My father is gone now 4 years this month and though he never talked much about it he landed on the beaches of France and fought his way into Germany where he earned a Bronze star and close to 8 months in hospitals before he could return home. We are losing the last of a great generation and mm,any do not even know it. God bless them all...

  10. Thank you for taking care of one of the Old Breed. It seems too many of them are forgoten now days.
    I am glad some Marines still have Semper Fi chiseled on their hearts.

    Semper Fi

  11. Mrs. Lewis, that was a beautiful and emotional post. Thanks. I emailed the link to most of my neighbors.