A few days ago I was at our local DMV renewing my driver’s license, nothing extraordinary. I wanted to get it before heading out of town for some hiking. So I get there and am waiting for my turn when I see this elderly couple at one of the counters. The gentleman was having his eyes tested for his driver’s license. The lady at the counter asked him to read the lines. Which he did. Then she asked him if he saw any red dots. There was silence. He said no! She asked him again and again he said no. At this time, I was thinking the lady at the counter was going to deny him his driver’s license when he said, do you mean the ones on the edges? She said yes. And he said I sure do. They are on both sides! A sigh of relief came to both, over the lady at the counter and the gentleman’s wife, and as burst of laughter from the gentleman.
Next, it was time for the photo. He stood in front of the camera and smiled asking the lady at the counter if he could wear his hat for the photo. She said yes, as long as his face was completely visible. All this time I was watching, I could see the energy in this man, full of life and vigor. Then came my turn and I did my customary stuff at the counter and headed out.
At the departure, I saw this gentleman and his wife and noticed the hat he was wearing was a WWII Vet hat. That gave me goosebumps watching this vet from 50+ years ago, full of energy and life. I graciously opened the door for him and his wife and told him that I was not even born when he served but can appreciate what he and all other war vets have gone through and the support that their families give them. And as we stepped outside I asked him if I could shake his hand. We shook hands and he let me know how appreciated he was for me to mention that and said God Bless you.
But there was something more compelling about this encounter. I had to go back and ask his name. He said it was Leon Frank Guania, originally from Poland. After introductions, we talked a bit more and he gave me a huge hug. This was my personal experience with one WWII vet on a certain day this year. There are thousands of vets and as we all know that one of the work hazards is what they always don’t talk about. Our people in the armed forces literally pledge to lay down their life for the rest of us. To preserve what we believe in and make sure we live our lives without the threat of some foreign power wanting otherwise.
So please support our war veterans unconditionally. They were there for us. Their friends died for us. Many came back severely handicapped and their wellbeing is our obligation and duty. They are part of our legacy.