Postcard From Our Veterans: The Reason For Today

#MemorialDay2019

Yesterday John and I arrived at 8:30 AM to Constitution Avenue and 21st Street, in Washington, D.C. to camp out until “Rolling Thunder” around noon. This has been our spot for many years and very close to “Thunder Alley” and the perfect spot to hang and enjoy ourselves as we wait for what is called “Freedom Ride.” The strategy is that John drops me off with all our belongings: chairs, cooler, mosquito repellent, suntan lotion, reading material, water and goodies for me to set up camp. He then goes to park the car close by and returns. I found the perfect spot. We were not the first ones to arrive, there were others that had the same idea as we had. As I sat down on my chair I smiled and said “good morning” to our neighbor that had three more chairs next to his and a encampment pretty much like ours. What a treat this introduction lead to… you see, yesterday I had the privilege to meet Larry. He told me he was there with his wife, brother and sister-in-law. We talked about the possibility of it being the last “Rolling Thunder” and he said if money was an issue (which he was certain it was not) he knew all Vets could pony up whatever amount was needed to keep bringing Rolling Thunder to D.C. He came to watch the first “Ride For Freedom” in 1993, and John chimed he had ridden on the first one as well. Larry shared he is a Vietnam Vet and had retired after working at the same dealership in Tysons for 40 years. He has a wife, kids, grandkids, and a swimming pool in his back yard. He also mentioned that this year he is not opening it because his kids don’t visit that often and his grandkids are teenagers and are doing their own thing nowadays. We talked about the traffic driving down and I explained how touching it is to see the children and adults on the overpasses with flags and cheering the bikers as they head on to the Pentagon. This year it made me teary eyed thinking that not too many people take this day as solemnly as they should. He agreed… We changed the subject and he told me that his knees are not what they used to be, but he can’t slow down enough nowadays to schedule his surgery. He knows he needs it but for now he is wearing two braces that help him walk. We happen to live in the same county and we compared notes of places close to home we are both familiar with and enjoy. What a delightful man to hold a conversation with. Suddenly we heard a helicopter and we both looked up into the beautiful and sunny DC sky to find it. Larry then mentioned that back in combat choppers were their lifeline, they brought food, water, everything. Listening to choppers always brings him back and he looks forward to seeing them. He also said that this week is very hard for him. He had tears in his eyes. You see, Larry lost 12 men from his unit at war, their names are on the wall. #YouWillNotBeForgotten

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