I picked up the following story from an email. I didn’t bother to check its validity, because the message is what is really important, and I wanted to share it with you. This is purportedly written by a U.S. Marine.
“As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man on the lot 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 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, who saw him approaching, and took a few steps towards him.
I saw the older man point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him say loudly, ‘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; he appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming, smiled sheepishly, and stood straight, and as I got near him I said, ‘Looks like you’re having a problem.’
He quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself, and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. I remembered a gas station up the road, and I told him that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside. I saw three mechanics working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I offered to pay if someone could follow me back down and help him. Two of them offered to go.
The old man had pushed the car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up, smiled, 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 said that he served with the first Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Pelieliu, and Okinawa.
He had landed in three of the worst battles, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine start and saw the mechanics lower the hood. As they came over to us, the old man reached for his wallet, but I stopped him, and told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.
He still reached for the wallet and handed each of us a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and, without looking, 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, and I wanted to pay for the help. They refused to charge me.
The men told me then that they were Marine Corps Reserves, and glad to help. 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.
I had gone about two blocks, when curiosity got the best of me, and I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it. The name of the old gentleman was on the card, printed in gold leaf, and under his name was written: ‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’
I sat there motionless, staring at the card and reading it over and over, recalling what I could about the battles the old man was in. I looked up 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 the presence of a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Remember, as we approach another Memorial Day, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them.”