Wednesday, December 07, 2011

My Pearl Harbor Day story

About 2 or 3 years back I was stuck in traffic behind an old fucker that was puttering along down the main drag here in town. His car had the usual stickers on it, WWII Veteran, VFW, These Colors Don't Run, shit like that. The one thing that I saw, and it took me a moment to realize how unusual this was, was his license plate holder: Pearl Harbor Survivor.
Damn, there ain't a whole lot of them fuckers left between the resulting war and time. What wasn't killed off eventually died off.
Now here we have a man that was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked, survived only to fight for at least that war and quite possibly the next two. A man that believed in God, Family and Country. Hell, he might have lost a son or two in later wars, maybe a grandson in our current war. Somebody that served his country and then worked his ass off the rest of his life. A man.
Anyways, he got in the left hand turning lane and I stayed in mine and we ended up next to each other at the red light. I looked over and saw an old man hunched over the steering wheel, looking tired as hell, just wanting to get home.
I honked my horn and he looked over kinda sorta irritated like I interrupting something, and I cranked off the snappiest salute I'd ever presented before and held it.
He looked surprised for a second straightened up and returned it with a huge smile on his face.
And I swear when I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw a young and strong man again.

16 comments:

drjim said...

Kenny, I think that's the nicest thing I've seen here.
I've run into "old guys" with WWII hats on, and I always stop and talk to them. They always peg me as a 'Nam vet (never served; flunked the physical) when I tell them I never served, but shake their hand and thank them for their service anyway.
And like you saw, they always seem to walk a little straighter when I watch them walk away.

boilerdoc said...

you brought a tear to my eye wire....

Brian In Florida said...

I Love ya for that Brother, I have been working with the Honor Flights, taking our fastly dwindling WW11 vets to see the memorial in Washington. To have the Honor of being a part of that, is not lost on me, and the Honor you showed. Dam brought a tear to my eye. Thank you Sir.

JeffH said...

What an awesome story!

Mud in the Blood said...

My Father-in-Law was a Navigating officer on Lancaster bombers in WW2. A few years ago my wife and I took him up to an old WW2 airbase in Licolnshire where they have restored, but not flying, Lancaster. Despite my Father-in-law being in his eighties, deaf and almost blind, he was able to negotiate the cramped internals of the plane without any assistance - he remembered it all. We have a photo of him looking our of the front of the plane from the bomb aimers position. You know what? In that picture he is a young man again too!
Those old timers are a special breed, we'll miss them when they are gone.

Mud in the Blood said...

Re: my previous post The website for the Lancaster bomber that we visited is;
http://www.lincsaviation.co.uk/

Zilla/MJ said...

Beautiful story, Kenny, got me all teary. God bless our vets!

Stinkwilly said...

Ya did good Ken. I'm proud of ya man, and I'll bet that old timer survivor is too. You made his day.

dhanna59 said...

Now you've gone and done it again Kenny, got me bawly-sqwally....where is my hot sauce?

Anonymous said...

Damn, Wirecutter, my throat is all swole up.

LC LtC

davidc said...

Great story ! I was went to local doctor's office for a bad cold, felt really miserable. Then i stopped to talk to an elderly couple. The man had a ballcap with veteran patches on it. He had served in WWII, Korea,'Nam and Gulf War. He was there for problems from Agent Orange, he couldn't talk very well. I felt better after thanking him !!!

Corey said...

One of my grandpas best friends was on the Arizona. He stayed on board trying to save his friends right until the ship went under. He fought through the whole war then Korea.

Weaver said...

Not been having a real good few weeks around the ol homestead. This helped a great deal, thanks Kenny.


Weaver

Deb said...

We do not honor vets enough in this country. Ask someone under the age of 35 about Pearl Harbor. They haven't a clue.

Thank you Ken for such a heartwarming story. Do we need to start worrying about you again getting all mushy?

andy said...

Got one for you.. when I was 17 I met an old timer named frank curre..frank tought me how to run a printing press but better yet was on the uss tenneesee when pearl harbor was attacked...he was 18. Yesterday on pearl harbor day my friend of 7 years passed away he died from the asbestos relased from the bombings of the ships
I remember him telling me his stories I looked him square in the eye..a 17 year old boy and shook his hand and told him thank you..and you saw the fire in his eyes

Look up frank curre there is videos of his war stories on thev internet

God bless you frank we all miss you

Stretch said...

What? You like to see me cry?