A Memorial Day Story

24 May

I was sitting here reading mail, taking my morning medicines, and thinking about finishing my weekly “How I Feel” post when I came across this Memorial Day Story (via an AOL Mail from a good good friend).  Being the sap I am, and the proud veteran I am. I felt the need to share this with you. I didn’t write it, I don’t care who did (thought I would love to give them credit) I don’t know or even care if it’s true, it just made my heart feel good as I read it. Hopefully you get a warm and fuzzy as you read it. — Take care, Bill

A Memorial Day Story

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 twenty-five 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. He 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; he 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 I told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside. I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I 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 said that he served with the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal Pelieliu, and Okinawa. He had hit three of the worst 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. 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 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 was written:

‘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, as we approach another Memorial Day, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them. America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them! Remember, Freedom isn’t Free. Thousands have paid the price, so that you can enjoy what you have today.



As always I am open to your questions, concerns and comments.  Take care, and have a safe Memorial Day.  Bill


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17 responses to “A Memorial Day Story

  1. kanzensakura

    May 24, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Of all the internet stories passed around, I have never read this one. How beautiful. Someone said, and I can’t remember who or the exact words, but the gist is: Only two people have laid down their lives to save and protect you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.

    • FlaHam

      May 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Kanzen, I am so glad you found this one to be different. It was the 1st time I had seen this particular story, which was another reason why I shared it. I have seen the quote you refer to several times and I think that is one of the greatest I have heard. As always thank you so much for your support and caring. Please take care, Bill

  2. rebecca2000

    May 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    It is beautiful. One of the things that touched me in Italy was the people there really honor American soldiers. They have a huge ground there much like in DC. They started tearing up even though they were not alive talking about how the American soldiers freed them in WWII. It really made me proud.

    • FlaHam

      May 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Rebecca, Thank you, I appreciate your words and thoughts, and they mean a lot to me. For years our veterans got more recognition outside the US for the good we did for other countries, than we gave them here. That was a friggin shame. But times are changing and our men and women are getting the respect and recognition they deserve. Again thank you, Bill

  3. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    May 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Beautiful. ❤

    • FlaHam

      May 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Paulette, I am glad you enjoyed it. Take care, Bill

  4. Chatter Master

    May 25, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Bill that was indeed beautiful. It’s sad that we sometimes look at one another and see age, or depression, or ‘poor’. And not the person that is there inside. I’ll try to use this as a reminder. Thank you to all who serve, served, and left us because of their service.

    • FlaHam

      May 26, 2014 at 7:39 am

      Colleen, It is indeed beautiful, and it has struck the right cord in many folks, but it is a wonderful story on many levels, and may just open a eye or two. I served with pride, thank you for the opportunity. Take care, Bill

  5. haddyism

    May 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I tried to reply to your comment but it won’t let me send it.
    Maybe try refreshing your browser. I don’t know why irs not working.

  6. huntmode

    May 31, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you for this one, Bill.

    • FlaHam

      June 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Huntie, your most welcome. Take care, Bill

  7. Wanda

    June 1, 2014 at 6:50 am

    An excellent read for Memorial Day or any other day of the year.

    I’ve witnessed, and even been the recipient of, “thank you for your service” greetings between civilians and either active or veteran personnel, and it makes me glad each time I see it that someone is acknowledging the sacrifices others make. Still, however, I can’t help but think that the non-stop conflicts of the last decade and more dilute people’s responsiveness to the military–if something needs done, the world over, it’s often the U.S. military that are brought to bear on the problem and usually with amazingly good results.

    My comments are a bit of a tangent to this post–I guess I’m just saying that our military folk deserve all the honor and thanks they can get, so I’m very glad to have the opportunity to read this.

    • FlaHam

      June 1, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Wanda, I am touched by how civilians seem to be reaching out more to the men and women who serve than I can ever remember in the past. Yesterday, I was talking to AJ at Verizon billing, and during the course of our conversation I read back the order number, I used Navy speak for the alpha characters, when I had completed the read back, his 1st question was “had I served in the military” when I replied positively he said “thank you,” and we moved on to the next order of business. But it made me feel good. If this story makes anyone feel good then it was worth the tiny bit of effort I had to do to repost it. As for your tangent, we are called to serve in to many places, for to many people that could care less, and that needs to stop. We are not the world police force, especially when the country we are trying to save hate us. Let them alone, and let them rot. Keep our folks out of harms way. So I agree with your tangent as well. It was a good post, and I have had many folks compliment it. Smiling your’s too. Please take care, Bill ,

  8. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

    June 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Bill – I couldn’t possibly send you enough thanks for posting this tribute of thanksgiving for our military. I’ve been in and around the military for well over 40 years now and I’ve never seen this one. You are indeed a champ for posting this.

    My husband told me he’s received exactly one ‘thank-you for your service’ since he’s retired and none while in uniform. I’ve never met a more loyal soldier, yet the negative feed-back began with his parents.

    I couldn’t agree with you more in that we have to stop sending our troops all over the world, especially when we are not wanted. I believe every military action we take should be carefully weighed. What have the American people gotten out of our current war. Nothing but heartache and continuing debt which will more than likely destroy us. Of course, those in power at the time we entered into this war have made a fortune and continue to do so.

    Again, thank you. Sheri

    • FlaHam

      June 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Sheri, It is truly a shame that your husband has only been thanked once, it should be thousands of times. I see it happening more and more here in Florida, and I am so glad. Soft smile, I forget that when I comment someone might actually read what I say to others. I love the comment section of the blog for that very reason. I believe you picked up on my comments to Wanda, who is a very very dear friend. She is a veteran and she is married to a lifer. The points she made were spot on. And that caused my emotional outpouring. You are correct, our friggin leaders are getting rich on the backs of our dying and injured kids. They send them any friggin place in the world, without proper equipment, and have our kids lay down their lives for in many cases folks that don’t give one shit for us, or our Country, or what we stand for. I am of the mind we should allow them to rot in their own waste. Take care, Bill

  9. Marlyn

    June 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you for those 19 words & you know why:) Bryan is there now & David is still under Wounded Warriors……no holiday from the pain of war!

    • FlaHam

      June 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Marlyn, You are most welcome. Please take care. Bill


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