Jeff’s Corner

Three days ago last Sunday, while working my last shift in the now old Main Street location, an older gentleman walked up the two steps with a little help from a cane and a metal right leg from the knee down.

He wore a purple hat that read “Purple Heart Vietnam” with some embroidery on it, and a purple shirt with the Marine Corps logo over his heart, and around it in small print the same wording as his cap.

I smiled, offered him some wine, and told him it would be an honor to shake his hand. He smiled as we did and said thanks, but a beer tasting was more his style. He walked out the door with four generations of his family.

My mind drifted back to the story I wrote last year for Memorial Day weekend. I planned to repost it this year, and now it is deja vu all over again. I’m proud to be able to share all this…

“The door opened at the wine shop last Sunday on Main Street, and a much older man made his way up the two steps bent over his walker. He was sporting a brand new black cap with “U. S. Marines” embroidered on it in gold letters. He was followed by two younger guys.

They walked up to the tasting bar and one of the younger gentleman said, ”This is my Grandfather, we just came from the Pacific War Museum. My Grandpa landed on the beach at Iwo Jima, fought the entire battle, and would like to try some wine.”

I wasn’t serving them, but I interrupted and told him it would be an honor to shake his hand, and that he was a hero. He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and a firm handshake, saying that he graduated from high school in San Antonio in 1942 and couldn’t wait to join the Marine Corps.

Today starts Memorial Day Weekend, a holiday, but every year I take a step back to think about why we have the freedom to take this day off. We are honoring more soldiers that have died for us than we could ever imagine.

Memorial Day celebrations began after the Civil War to honor both the Union and Confederate dead. It was called “Decoration Day” which continued the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers.

To me, this day has nothing to do with politics and hawks and doves. Looking into the eyes of that Marine last Sunday, I didn’t see an older man with most of his life behind him; I saw a young kid trying to suppress a fear very few of us could ever comprehend. He was charging up a forsaken beach in the Pacific Ocean for his generation, and our generations to come…”