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Once a Marine...
FREEDOM TO RACE - Steve Thomas, BPS File Photo
FREEDOM TO RACE - Steve Thomas, BPS File Photo
April 11th 2011 - EVERY ONE IN A WHILE, I GET AN E-MAIL THAT REALLY IMPACTS ME. I WANT TO SHARE THIS ON WITH ALL MY FELLOW MARINES - SEMPER FI - BRONCO

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 Isaid, '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 I 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 had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa,
Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal

....

He had hit all the big 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, OLD men like him gave you 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.