The following was posted by a shipmate, Bob Walker on Facebook today:
Coming home today, I drove past my dentist’s office. Instead of calling to check on an appointment I have later this week, I decided to stop in and check on it. I’m glad I did.
When I entered, I noticed a gentleman sitting in the waiting area with a WW2 Veteran hat on. I took care of my business, and he was still there when I reentered the waiting area. I walked over to him and thanked him for his service. I was wearing my USS Nashville ball cap, and he asked me if I was in the military. I told him I was retired from the Navy, and he said, sit down, son, and let’s talk.
His name is Adrian, I won’t reveal his full name. He was a medic with the 95th Infantry, serving in Germany and France. His unit had 2 medics for about 150 men, and they called him “The Man”. Among other things we talked about, he told me stories of liberating a concentration camp, the ones still alive hadn’t eaten in weeks, and were eating the flesh of the recently deceased. He closed his eyes and leaned back, and said he could still see it and smell it, even today.
He said Hitler had a plan to create a master race, and rule the world. I told him that thanks to men like him, it didn’t work out that way.
We sat and talked for about 10-15 minutes, not a long time, and I wish I could have stayed and talked with him for hours.
Folks, these are the men who saved our world over 70 years ago, and there aren’t many of them left with us. If you see someone wearing a WW2 Veteran hat, take a moment to thank them. Then take a few more minutes to ask them about their service. It doesn’t take much, only a few minutes out of your busy day… but I think it’ll mean the world to these heroes.
Bob’s story reminded me of an incident that happened to me about ten years ago:
A few years ago, I had an appointment at the Internal Medicine Clinic at Tripler Army Medical Center. This was before I began to manifest the symptoms of my Parkinson’s disease. As I entered the elevator, an Army officer in a camo uniform rushed past me into the nearly full elevator. I noticed an elderly couple also nearing the elevator and stopped the door to hold the elevator for them.
As the couple entered the elevator, the officer groaned and said, “For Christ’s sake.”
The elderly couple told me they were going to the same floor I was. As the elevator reached our floor and opened the officer pushed his way to the front, upsetting the lady, who would have fallen if I hadn’t caught her. Her husband also clutched my arm to maintain his balance. I helped them from the elevator and asked where they were going. As it happened, the were also going to Internal Medicine. I took my time and assisted them with a couple of stops to rest.
Once we reached the clinic, I helped them to check in and got them seated. As I completed my check in, the rude Army officer came from the back and sat down in the waiting area.
I walked over to him and said, “Major, if you don’t mind I would like to talk to you outside.”
We went out into the foyer. I said, “Major you owe that old man and woman an apology. When you pushed the aside exiting that elevator, they both almost fell. I see you are wearing the Combat Infantry Badge which tell me you have seen combat. Did you notice that old gentleman’s ball cap is embroidered with the Marine Corps device and the words Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa? There are also Gunnery Sargent’s chevrons, as well as the ribbons for the Pacific Theater, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.”
He stared at me for a minute, turned and reentered the waiting room, walked over to the couple, knelt and talked with them for about ten minutes. He shook their hands, stood and rendered a hand salute.
He walked to me and said, “Sir, may I ask, what is your rank?”
I told him, “I am a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer.”
He shook my hand, said, “I always heard that Chiefs were a bunch of Hard-asses.” He saluted me and walked to his seat.