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
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 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
. 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 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 ca rd 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.'
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, old men like him gave you FREEDOM for
is not at war.
Military is at war.
is at the Mall.
Freedom isn't Free, thousands have paid the price so
you can enjoy what you have today.