Lesson Learned: On Memorial Day, I attended a ceremony commemorating the military personnel who had fallen in service to our country at the William Boulton Dixon American Legion Post 10 in Fort Washington, PA. It was a patriotic, yet solemn observance attended by many who had proudly served their country during wartime. Keith T., a 97-year-old World War II veteran and post commander in 1951, was present and received special commendation. After the program, I offered him my personal thanks for his service to our country. He beamed and without skipping a beat replied with a strong and steady voice, “thanking me is the best thing anyone can say to me!”
At that moment, I recalled the tears that appeared in my father’s eyes many years ago when a stranger approached him on the Ocean City boardwalk, shook his hand and thanked him for his military service. He was stunned. How did this man even know that he had served, my father asked. My father had forgotten that he was wearing his favorite Korean War Veteran baseball hat. He was so touched by the recognition and the appreciation expressed by someone he didn’t know that he glowed for hours.
This random act of kindness taught me a valuable life lesson and one which I try to give back to every veteran I meet. It’s easy and doesn’t cost anything, but to the recipient, it’s priceless!