Columns LaFayette Sun


Not that anyone is asking, but if you want to run into a bunch of veterans, just come visit the Old Folks Hotel at Arbor Springs. More accurately, WE will run into YOU as we are all in wheelchairs and can’t fly them nearly as well as we flew planes in the Air Force. Yes, gathered around the table here is a mix of Marines and Air Force vets with lots of stories to tell over and over and over. My friend Mr. W shared a story about his brother Preston who fought in what he called the hell that was World War II in the well-known impossible missions of the 77th infantry. Preston kept a bullet that landed on his leg in a foxhole after it traveled through his buddy’s cheek. He dragged that buddy to safety knowing he would die. Turns out, Preston fought in several foxholes and was eventually injured. When he returned to the states, he met back up with that friend – he had survived. My daughter said, “ Mr. W, your brother is a hero!” Mr. W said Preston never looked at it that way. He was young and scared and did what he could. No hero ever thinks he’s a hero.
My neighbor across the hall, also a veteran, keeps to himself. But his son-in-law let it slip that he was one of the original engineers of the rocket boost launch of the Apollo missions. Keep in mind none of us can hear that well, so I may get some of our stories mixed up. What I DO know is that on Veterans Day last week, a whole bunch of us got certificates for our service. Most of us were drafted so why would we be commended? Well it seems that serving your country, hell even being proud of your country, is respected everywhere except the internet.
Many times the veterans to my right and left were not just serving the good ole USA. We were acting as allies to the countries who couldn’t push out the bad guys. You know what happens if you don’t keep evil from spreading? Just study Hitler’s march across Europe. You know what happens if terrorists get their way? They turn into good guys and leave everyone alone. That’s sarcasm.
It’s hard to believe that Veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are sitting around watching protests on TV in favor of the bad guys. At least protests from Vietnam were more about America not getting involved rather than straight up taking the side of the America-haters. My daughter keeps reminding me of the Bible verse from Isaiah “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” Isaiah probably seemed like a crazy man back then, all those prophets apparently looked like a street-corner preacher in dusty robes, but much of their prophesies are spot on. God is the only thing that can save us.
I’ll sum it up with this story. This same daughter who keeps telling me to drink water pushed me in a wheelchair clear across to the hospital the other day. I don’t need a hospital, apparently it was her idea of a field trip to cruise around the lobby. We happened upon a chapel and since it was empty we went in. We prayed and she read some scripture that was open on the altar, and then she went to the piano and played some hymns. The whole room seemed peaceful. I asked her to play the Air Force song, and she apparently can’t figure it out, so she played the Marine song instead. “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.” The next thing we know a hospital staff person came in wearing a Marines hat, he had heard the song in the hallway, and saluted me in my Air Force hat. We both teared up. It was a moment we could ALL share if we honored our God and our country and shut the heck up.

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