Today, Caleb and I had the honor of joining a group of about eighty former officers and their wives for the Military Officer’s Association of America monthly luncheon. I am privileged to work with Earl, the Vice President of the association, and he asked me to come speak with them about my book.
We had a wonderful time, getting to know the people, talking about the book, working on this venture together, My Man and me. The memory that sticks out to me the most, however, was the moment we walked into the room, three older men got Earl’s attention for him to introduce us. One man had a walker, another a hearing aid, all had a smile and an outstretched hand. All were World War II veterans.
They wanted us to join them for the meal, but we politely (and sadly) declined as we had seating arrangements at another table. While I was eating, I kept looking over at these three gentlemen, sitting by themselves and looking over at us. One struggled to his feet and asked if he could buy a book, declaring that “he would be my first customer of the day!”
What humbled me, was that these men were so eager to hear about another World War II veteran’s story (my grandpa) when they had their own amazing story to tell. Afterwards, as one man and I visited, he told me a tiny bit about his own experience during the war. He was a navigator on a B-24, flying bombing missions over Germany. On one of their runs, their plane was hit, and they were forced to jump over Hungary where they were picked up and held at a prisoner’s of war camp.
I love the military books, and I enjoy the World War II movies, but meeting one of these heroes in real life…priceless.