I am a vet, and the gentleman that rents the apartment in part of my home is a WWII Purple Heart recepient. He is truely from the greatest generation. My father-in-law restored an MB, a '44 military jeep, in the early '80s. He keeps it in my garage. My responsibilties are to run and drive the MB from time to time. I try for every two weeks. We are working on antique plates, so I am limited to the couple acres we own for now.
Today, as I opened the garage to run the old jeep, my renter was pulling in the driveway. As any American would, I opened the garage door for him. I was in the process of openeing the other garage door so the '44 could get some exercise. Almost on a whim, I asked him if he would like a ride, without hestitation, he said yes. So off we went. We rode around the yard for almost 30 minutes, me trying to not hit the trees and shrubs in the yard and him telling tales of his love for the ole workhorse.
I'm not sure if he knows how much of an Honor it was for me, but I think he appreciated the ride in the real jeep.
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That's awesome. That is an honor and a downright blessing that you had that opportunity. You're right about that being our greatest generation ever too. I get choked up thinking about what some of these guys went through for us. Occasionally if I see an old gentleman wearing a unit hat or something that tells me he was a war vet I will approach him and thank him for his service and sacrifice and tell him there are people who appreciate it every day.
Last year, on Memorial day a large table of vets in their old uniforms was at a local restaurant for breakfast before going to their cermony. We told our waitress that we wanted to pay for their meals. She was moved by it and said she couldn't believe we did that. I told her to think for a moment about what they did for all of us, escpecially the ones who didn't make it back. These guys are leaving us every day and they are some of the finest Americans ever.
You ought to sit down and let him tell you a story or two! They usually have some good ones.
PS, I'm former Navy and proud of all our armed forces.
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So go TELL him how much you enjoyed riding with him and hearing his tales... and then invite him again!
Well done, btw!
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Don't let the moment get away from you. If you can find the time, get him talking. My wife's father served 4 years in the Pacific in WWII, and died when she was 19 (in the 70's). She regrets not being old enough to appreciate the stories when he was around.
Thanks for the story. I hope you have a chance to ride with him again. That would make a cool addition to a parade. I bet you wouldn't even have to make it street legal.
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I met a guy passing through town with his wife. They were at the resturant I was working at. He was from the 101st Airbourne in WWII. Man, what I wouldn't give to sit down for a couple of hours and talk to him
I've got a regular customer who comes in to the dealership for his oil changes and stuff. He was on board the USS Parche in WW2 and present during the 45 minute running battle with a Jap convoy, surfaced, at night, on a particular patrol. Wasn't the commander, but I think a sonarman. He brought in his USS Parche scrapbook one time, two inches thick and packed full of old pics and newspaper articles and whatnot. Simply amazing and a great guy. These guys are heroes in the truest sense of the word.