Remember the 3rd precinct in Minneapolis being burned down the riots? I gave 45 cards and challenge coins to those officers. A Sergeant at roll call gave out those coins and cards. I asked him to say as he was giving out the coins… “there are more of us than there are of them.” Those tough veteran officers had tears falling from their eyes and were barely able to speak.
I saw a person wearing a Vietnam Veteran hat in Menards. I gave him a card and shook his hand giving him a coin. He looked at the card and turned and said to his wife “go do some shopping I have to talk to this person.” He took me over to a corner of the store where we were alone. He told me “I’ve never spoke of Vietnam since I left there and you are the 1st person who I’m going to tell you like what it was like. Life meant nothing to us, absolutely nothing.” He went on for 20 minutes telling me stories which were private between the two of us so I can’t relay them to you.
I gave a card to a Tuskegee Pilot. I asked him what it was like being in air combat because I was never in combat myself. He said “it is hours and hours and hours of boredom with moments of absolute panic.” He went on to tell me “after the war ended we arrived back home on a troop ship. We disembarked by rank and when I got to the head of the line (I was a 2nd lieutenant) the Sgt holding a clip board without looking up told me to go to the back of the line, I was the last person off the ship. I saw the clip board and behind my name was (N). After serving my country I’m still angry for the way I was disrespected.”
I went up to a person wearing a WWII hat. After giving him a card we struck up a conversation. He told me “I’m retired from the Navy after 20 plus years.” I said you don’t look like a sailor to me…what were your hull numbers? He answered “do you want all 27 of them.” To which I answered “Yes Sir I do.” He then started in telling me his hull numbers and when he got to number 16 I said “I believe you.” To which he answered “stand right there you are going to hear the rest.” He gave me all 27!
I gave a card to a Veteran in Gander Mountain. He walked away and a short time later came back to me with tears in his eyes. I can thank you enough for this card, I needed this today. He went on telling me one story. He was a medic in Vietnam and one day he was holding a young Marine in his arms that was dying. That maring kept saying “oh mommie help me it hurts so much…he kept repeating it until he died in his arms. He went on to tell me that it has been over 30 years since that day and still he can see and hear that Marine in his dreams. I asked him “how do you cope with that?” He replied “I go out to the garage, shut the doors, turn on the radio and just sit in my chair all day!”
I had the privilege on night to be seated next to a member of the Band of Brothers at a Veteran’s dinner. I asked him how did Hollywood do in making the series? He told me it was very close to what really happened except for the swearing. We only had one guy who swore just a little bit. He went on to tell me the story about crossing the river at night to capture a German prisoner. They went up a stairway to a house and kicked in the door and threw a hand grenade in. The grenade hit something inside and rolled back to the door. The soldier who threw the grenade jumped in the entryway as the grenade went off and killed him. He said “I was standing behind that soldier.”
I gave a card and coin for Law Enforcement to a lady friend to give out. She called me a couple of days later and here is what she told me…I saw a squad card parked with a female officer inside. I walked over and motioned he to roll her window down. That officer in a stern voice said “and what can I do for you today?” With that my friend said “I would just like to thank you for putting that uniform on today and then she handed that officer a card then a coin.” That officer looked at the card then the coin…she had tears running down her face and barely was able say Thank You.