Today I had another of those VA Medical Centers encounters that warmed the cockles of my heart and left me flabbergasted at the same time.
I was walking down the hallway of a Medical Center when I saw a “senior” black veteran with a leather jacket sporting a “Buffalo Soldier” logo, complete with brigade information and patches on it. I jokingly stopped and said to him that I did not think that he was old enough to be a Buffalo Soldier. He replied with a smile that he might be older than I thought. Not to be outdone, I told him that I was a grandfather, and he still did not look that old. He laughed cheerily and we compared numbers of grandchildren.
Then he told me what I did not know, that the Buffalo Soldiers is a motorcycle club. You can read about our local chapter here. Besides enjoying themselves, they will also escort military funerals, work with the needy, etc. He is also a member of the American Legion and their motorcycle club, which also escorts military funerals. He asked if I rode and I said no, that I would likely kill myself if I tried. He laughed some more and said that he had not bought his first bike until after he was retired and that with the modern bikes riding is much easier.
We talked some more and I told him that I am a member of Vietnam Veterans of America. He likes that organization as well and we found out that both of us are going to be involved in Veteran’s Day events at local schools. (I will be at a middle school next week.)
It was a pleasant talk, but at the end he flabbergasted me. As he mentioned Veteran’s Day, he said that he was simply giving back for all he had received. Here is a man who has served his country in harm’s way. Here is a veteran, now retired, who is at the VA for treatment. Here is a grandfather, who has raised his children and grandchildren as the Bible says–he is a strong believer by the way–, and he wants to give back.
As far as I am concerned, he need give nothing back. We need to give to him, seat him in the seat of the elders, and honor him. But, his humble attitude left me flabbergasted. It is an attitude that is so rarely encountered today.
Remember this man and other men and women like him when you think about Veteran’s Day. Honor him, and honor the men and women who have served faithfully, but retain a humble attitude before their God. Not all service people are like this man, I guarantee you. I have met some who are very different. But, this man is an example to us all. Honor him.