I had a job and obligation to welcome home an Honor Flight at the Quad City Airport for our veterans.
The greatest time was when one of the old veterans came by me and I said to him, “Welcome home young man.” Tears came to his eyes and he said to me that he had not heard that until 70 years ago when he came back home from the World War II campaign. He thanked me and from that day on it changed my life.
When I went to Vegas and stayed in the old downtown I noticed a man in a wheelchair with his legs missing from the knees down and with a veteran sign on the side of his chair. Also a metal cup in his lap and speaking no words due to restrictions on panhandling. I took time with him and talked about his time in Vietnam. Being homeless and with no job, he had to resort to this humiliating task of sitting there. I noticed all the people walking by to avoid him and too busy to get to the next gambling machine. I left him with $100 in 20s to which he was very grateful. He was not a phony as I seen that in his eyes.
Then I realized how many of these veterans are out there. I met an old Marine veteran at our Eagles Club who was a prisoner of war of the Korean War. Being caught behind the enemy lines by the Chinese entry of that war. In their camp he was tortured and that was where his legs were not the same anymore. I befriended him and helped him to find a single floor apartment — a short walk to the Eagles Club to a table to drink two beers. He was quiet but would talk when spoken to with his back to the front door of the club. I surprised him by having a young Marine who was home on leave and in his best blue uniform come to the back of this old Marine and yelling at the seargent to full attention. Words cannot describe the emotions that was shown between these two Marines. They talked a very long time and the young Marine brought a Marine flag for him. Priceless moment in time.