11/12/2008

Veteran’s Day at the American Legion


Last night, in celebration of Veteran’s Day, the American Legion had a “steak-out” for all veterans of wars from WWI to Iraq. I was there as a veteran of the Vietnam War. As expected there was no one from WWI that showed up. There were only two veterans who showed up from the Iraq War and one right from Afghanistan. The majority were made up of Korean and Vietnam veterans. But, surprisingly to me, there were 12 men from WWII that showed up.

I don’t go to the American Legion much these days. I have been a member since 1986. But, I only show up for special days like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. There are a lot of reasons why I no longer go. But, this blog entry isn’t about that. This blog entry today is about one of those WWII veterans who showed up to be honored.

Mr. Adams is a double amputee from the Invasion of Normandy…D-Day, WWII. He has about 50% use of his left hand and lost both his legs in an effort to destroy a “gunner’s nest” on Omaha Beach. Mr. Adams was awarded the purple heart and a Silver Star, this nation’s third highest honor for action while serving in the U.S. armed forces. He covets both awards greatly. Mr. Adams, at age 88, is not as sharp as he once was both due to his age and the many medical hardships he has endured since WWII. So, he was given a page written up for him to read and wheeled up to the microphone last night.

As he started to read his script…Mr. Adams…stopped in mid-sentence, crumbled the page in his one good hand and threw it down on the floor. You could have heard a pin drop. A clichĂ©, I know, but it was absolutely true. In total silence, we all sat waiting to see what was going to happen. With tears streaming down his face, Mr. Adams spoke in a quivering voice, “God Bless this country. God Bless America.” With that Mr. Adams started to wheel himself back into the audience before his grandson caught up with him to help push the wheelchair.

Mr. Adams received a standing ovation from the approximately 200 people gathered. And he wasn’t the only one with tears streaming down his face last night. Indeed, God Bless America and God Bless you, Mr. Adams.

1 comments:

Thank you for your service David.

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