The Tortoise had an extremely touching experience today. I went with a group of wonderful ladies to the VA Hospital. We were taking part in the “Make Someone Smile” week that is being promoted by Teleflora. We delivered 200 “smiley face” mugs filled with pretty plants to patients at the hospital.
The appreciation the Veterans showed us for this tiny gesture was amazing. They were so grateful that we took the time to visit them and maybe for just a few moments, they did feel joy, knowing that we care. The group of patients consisted of young and old, from WWII Veterans in the hospice wing to a mix of soldiers in the spinal cord injury section.
It’s difficult to describe the feelings that flowed through me as I went from room to room. Suffice it to say, I was teary on and off throughout the visit. These guys and gals just tug at this shelled creature’s heart. At one point, the group made its way down a hallway where there was a gurney with a soldier who had fought his last fight. There was a beautiful American flag draped over his body as they waited to transport him. The body was brought down the hall with soldiers saluting, everyone standing against the wall to show reverence for this fallen hero. It was extraordinarily moving and so very patriotic and respectful. What a highly emotive moment.
The very last plant I delivered nearly put me over the edge because of his comments and clear emotional response. I thanked him for his service as I placed the mug on his table. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Thank you for remembering us. So many people have simply forgotten all about us.” Wow. What a true statement. It is so easy to get caught up in the “small” stuff, not appreciating all the blessings we have around us. It doesn’t matter how you feel about war, what matters is the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for us, so we can live in the land of the free. All they want is to know that they aren’t forgotten and their sacrifices weren’t in vain.
I know we all can’t head out and visit a Vet right now, but maybe, just maybe, keep them in your thoughts and prayers. And, please, if you see any soldiers in uniform or Veterans as you’re out and about, thank them for their service. Those words are powerful. You never know who might really need to hear just that, at just that time.
So, tomorrow, The Tortoise is going to run the 10k for all those Vets who can’t run. Because, dang it, they are heroes and should not be forgotten. I know I won’t forget… And, to any of you reading this who bravely served our country… THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. (Said with a warm smile and a big hug.)