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As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my

cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man 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 the old

gentleman 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. The old gentleman saw

him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.

I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something.

The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand

new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I

heard him yell at the old gentleman saying:’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 and stood straight, and as I got near him I said, ‘Looks

like you’re having a problem.’

He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head. I looked under

the hood myself, and knew that whatever the problem was, it was

beyond me. Looking around, I saw a gas station up the road, and

I told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station

and went inside. I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached

one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car.

I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and

appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened

up 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 hit three of the worst ones, and retired

from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car

engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came

over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by

me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed

had his name and address on it, and 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. I said I

wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.One of

them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card

the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they

were Marine Corps Reserves. 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.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks, when I pulled over and

took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time.

The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and

under his name was written: ‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’

I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over.

I looked up from the card 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 his presence.

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.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the

Mall.

If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in

front of them! Remember, Freedom isn’t Free. Thousands have paid

the price, so that you can enjoy what you have today.

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