Well, 4th of July has come and gone. We as a family had a whole meaning brought to us this year on what the 4th really means, and we reflected on just how lucky we are as Americans.
We were sort of overcome with emotion at the parade. We sat right at the beginning, and 2 huge floats came by us. I wish I had my camera but didn't. On these floats were veteran's from all eras. Up in the very front was an Iwo Jima veteran. When these floats went by, we stood immediately and started to clap out loud. We were afraid we would be standing amongst some of the same low caliber people that did not stand at the Memorial Parade and respect our veterans but sure did stand up and clap and holler for the pooper scoopers. This was a fear that was unfounded because all around us, people stood and clapped. We were standing kitty corner to where the floats were pulling out of, so when they got onto the road, we were one of the first they saw.
Many of those men made eye contact with us, and there were several that were just over come with the applause they were getting. It was very emotional. Many of them nodded and gave thumbs up to Taylor and Tanner.
Later that night, we talked a bit about how neat it was to see the Iwo Jima veteran, along with many of the older veterans, as we know we are losing many of them at a very fast rate.
We went out to eat tonight and in the middle of dinner Taylor stood up and walked around the table. She sort of headed off and I called her back. I asked her what she was doing and she said 'I saw a man with an Iwo Jima hat on and I need to go talk to him'. I asked her if it was a younger man and she said 'no mom, he is old and he is a veteran'. So, she had me go with her and we walked up to a table that had 4 very old gentlemen sitting there. I excused our intrusion, and said that I had a Gunny that believed she saw a fellow brother with an Iwo Jima cap come in earlier and she wanted to talk to him. One man raised his hand then pulled out his hat. He said 'it is me' Taylor went right over to him, shook his hand and said very loudly so EVERYONE in the surrounding tables could hear, 'Thank you sir, thank you for everything' That man smiled so huge. He then pointed around the table and told us they were all brothers! Two were in the Marines and one was in the Army. WOW! Taylor's eyes got huge and she told them this was a great honor for her to be surrounded by such great men, then went around and shook each of their hands. We then asked if they were in the parade in the town we went to and they were the very same ones we stood in awe of the day before and this was the Iwo Jima veteran we had seen!!!
There was an elderly lady sitting with them (she was never introduced so we don't know who she was) but she asked if Taylor had been in the paper on many occasions, I told her yes she had. She then leaned her head in and said to the men, 'this is the little girl we have talked about' At that, I kid you not, all 3 of them gave HER a salute and then thanked HER! She took it in stride, but man, I had tears! What a great treat it was. We didn't want to bother them any longer, so we gave another thank you and walked off. We pulled the waiter off to the side and slipped some money to him and told him it was to go towards the bill for that table, and the waiter asked what he was to tell them. We just said, 'tell them we said THANK YOU'.
Now as I write this, I wish we would have gotten some names, as it is clear they live somewhere in the area and I think of all the history these men hold with them. I think of the greatness they can tell......maybe we will have to try to do some investigating somehow and see if we can't get Taylor around them again.