Met a couple of interesting WWII vets.
Today I walked into the 7-11, there's an old dude in line wearing a ball cap with large Airborne wings on it, a 101st pin inthe center, a CIB above that. Our eyes met as I was checking his hat out, we nodded, I moved on. I wind up in line behind him and initiated contact. Toccoa man, 506th PIR WWII. Two bronze stars, one with a V. We chatted for a minute, I shook his hand and told him it was an honor to meet him.
Two weeks ago I'm late night shopping-grabbing some stuff so the kids can eat the next day. I'm walking out, this old duffer behind me muttering about finding a carriage. i tun around and ask if he wants mine-he says "sure" and shakes my hand to thank me. As he sticks his hand out I see he's got a beauty of a tattoo-a 1917A1 Browning on the heavy tripod right there on his arm. "You were a heavy machinegunner?" I ask. His eyes lit up. "Yeah, I carried that damend thing all over Asia. How'd you know?"
"Oh, I was a machinegunner too. A few years after you though" and threw in a wink. He laughed. I asked who he was with-he says "5307th Composite Infantry" I blinked, thinking to myself "Holy Fucking Shit, this cool old dude was a frigging water cooled Browning gunner with Merrills Marauders". He leans closer and says "Merrill's Marauders to you." I shook his hand again and told him it was an honor to meet him. We chatted for a minute, but I didn't want to hold him up and he seemed ready to shop.
Look around, there may be horoes right next to you. And they're dying off fast.
Cool. I helped replace the ceilings in a church by my house. It was me the Preacher and one other old guy. Come to find out the guy flew P51s in WWII. It was great hearing some of the stories. He said "ah nothing special", and i said "it is to me".
We didn`t get to talk much, not near as much as i would have liked. He said he didn`t like talking about it in front of the Preacher as he didn`t get to be in the war. I think about that guy and those like him who have those priceless stories and experiences often. Even their stories of growing up are great.