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November 11, 2009: Veteran’s Day
This blog is re-cycled from one I wrote in 2009. It’s worth repeating.
I’m sitting at a Starbucks working. It’s my third day in a row, so I’m starting to look like a regular at this Starbucks that is far away from home in Retirement-Community, Florida. And that’s ok because I get to meet some new and interesting people.
So Bob stops by my table. “You were here yesterday”, he tells me. “Yes, Bob, I was”, I reply. Then I look at his hat – Bob is a World War II veteran. “So Bob, you were in the war? What branch?”, I ask. That’s all it took for Bob to stop where he was going to tell me about his experience and for me to stop what I’m doing to listen to his stories.
He tells me of one of his early experiences as a deep-sea diver for the Navy. The Japanese had attacked a US vessel that had 350 men on it. Basically two suicide bombs hit the ship in the back and in the middle totally destroying the vessel and mutilating the men on board. Bob’s job was to dive into the wreckage area to recover as many dog tags as he could. He recovered 200 dog tags! What an unimaginable job – diving into enemy waters, digging through human body parts, to get the identification of the men that lost their lives in that attack.
Later Bob was promoted to Petty Officer first class and stationed on the USS Midway. He now lives in Florida, dancing with all the ladies and has earned the nickname “Dancing Bob”. What a happy, pleasant man. What a nice break from life to hear about another time and another’s experiences.
I have a son who is Army Infantry. He spent a year in Iraq. Yes, I worried about him. As Bob is telling me his story, I think about the mothers of the 200 men whose dog tags were found and they knew what happened to their boy and the mothers of the other 150 men whose dog tags were not found. I mourn for all of them. Bob reminds me of the amazing sacrifice our entire military personnel make in what is just another day at work for them. They have ensured our freedom.
Thank a vet. Not just today – every day.
About the author:
Kim McMahon has done sales and marketing for more years than she cares to count. She writes frequently on marketing, life, the world and how they sometimes all come together.