#188: Salute to a Veteran
Sunday, January 03, 2010
I've been thinking of an opportunity lost at my last doctor's appointment.
As I parked the car and got out, I immediately noticed an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench outside of the doctor's office. Beside the dignity in his stature I readily noticed the cap he wore that was embroidered with his service dates from Korea and Vietnam.
As I approached, a man came out of the doctor's building, looked at the man on the bench, walked to him, shook his hand then leaned down and gave the veteran a hug.
I walked up just then and the two of us saluted the veteran and thanked him for his service. Tears welled in his eyes and ours.
I regret I didn't ask his name and swore I'd talk with him after my appointment. To my regret, when I was finished, he was gone.
But my heart soared with respect and gratitude at his sacrifice. I wondered how many other people thanked him that day. I also wondered what his name was. I wanted to know his story of serving in the military, how he had been treated since his discharge and what he felt being sent from his home to foreign countries to risk his life for people he would never meet.
Then I vowed that the next time such a situation presents itself, instead of merely saluting and saying thank you, I'll ask his, or her, name and like the other man, shake their hand and give them a hug while saying thank you and may God bless you.