A career military man, who had retired as a Master Sergeant, was telling the new recruits how he handled officers during his years of service.
“It didn’t matter a hoot if he was a full bird colonel, Major General, an Admiral, or what! I always told those guys exactly where to get off.”
“Wow, you must have been something,” the admiring young soldiers remarked. “What was your job in the service?”
“Elevator operator in the Pentagon.”
No wonder. Now let’s go to the serious side of the story.
Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, Sergeant, USMC says: “It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.” Now you think about it and I think he is right.
I was tired. A good high school buddy of mine Dennis Lim traveled all the way from Maryland just to visit me in my hotel in Washington. Took me out for dinner, try to catch up with the good old times and we must have walked like a thousand miles the whole 4 hours of the afternoon of my last day of stay in Washington just walking and talking. After dinner I bid him goodbye and I walked back to my hotel. Not knowing when we will see each other the next time.
As I pressed the elevator button, there was a lady and a gentlemen waiting with me. The lady wore a baseball cap with the familiar embroidered emblem that bears the name: US MARINES. The gentleman had a huge cowboy belt on his hips and he started the conversation. Both of them are in their senior years.
The elevator door opened, the three of us got in. Each one pressed a button as all of us had to go to different floors. “US Marines huh?” The gentleman said, trying to get a conversation going.
The lady looked back at him with a quizzical look. She said, “Excuse me?”
The gentleman said, “You’re wearing a baseball cap that says US Marines.”
And the lady gave him a gentle smile and said, “My son.”
I did not mean to eavesdrop but how could I help from not hearing their conversation in that small elevator?
To my delightful surprise, the gentleman looked at the lady and said, “Please tell him Thank You!”
I was expecting the lady to say, “well, that’s mighty nice of you but she just gave a quiet little smile and said softly, “He passed away!”
And deep within me the question raced in my mind. “Wow, now I wonder how this gentleman would handle the rest of the conversation.”
The gentleman did not even lose a beat. He turned to the lady and said, “Then I have to thank you then. Thank you.”
And the elevator door opened and she got out to her floor.
The entire episode happened for only less than 2 minutes but it tells a story for a lifetime.
This is how Americans respect their soldiers. They realize and appreciate the value of what they are doing for their country. Do we see the same behavior and attitude here in our own?
I wish we could.
Let us respect the men and women who are in uniform. They are our very own. As the country celebrates Independence Day, remember than many have given up their lives for this country. You and I must live for our country and do our best to make this place a better place.