Sandrabarracuda’s Weblog

October 21, 2008

Semper Fi

Filed under: Politics — sandrabarracuda @ 11:37 am

Old Man

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 and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell
at the  old gentl eman 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 round 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.

America is not at war. The U.S Military is at war. America is at the
Mall.

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