Sunday, February 13, 2011

Two Anonymous Heroes

Saturday, I met up with a friend for lunch in Philly, and we wound up going to Reading Terminal Market.  I kind of had my heart set on a DiNic's famous Roast Pork Sandwich, and I have ever since seeing Adam Richman endorse it in the Philly Man v. Food episode.  However, the line was beyond belief, and there was no seating, so my friend and I opted to go to the most deluxe salad bar on this side of the Mississippi (I don't have any proof to back up this just sounded like a cool thing to say).

Anyway, after paying for my 1.09 lb meal, I found a spot to sit.  As we sat there eating, I overheard two older gentlemen to my right talking.  One was talking about how expensive his medical bills and prescription drugs are and that he can't afford it.  The other was telling him to go to the VA hospital.  Then, they began to discuss what their particular issues were, and both suffered from depression as well as many physical ailments, and both were struggling to make ends meat.  After finishing my meal and listening to their discussion (which I know is rude to do, but they were speaking at raised volumes, and their discussion was both moving and captivating), I stood up and interjected.  I told them that I couldn't help but hear their conversation and that I wanted to thank both of them on everyone's behalf for serving their country and defending our freedoms and that it frustrates me to no end to see our politicians voting raises for themselves and throwing money at special interests while brave men and women like these two heroes struggle as they do.  At that moment, both of them smiled with incredible pride, and the veteran who was standing gave me a salute and thanked me for my appreciation.

I then turned to dispose of my trash, and as I began to walk away after doing that, the more articulate of the two men called me back over.  He told me that he works to help the homeless find shelter and food, and strikingly (sickeningly even) that about 40% of the homeless people he works with are veterans of war.  He continued to tell me that the reason is that, "A lot of us aren't right in the head after being shot at and bombed in foreign lands," and he is absolutely right.  I told him that while I can in no way comprehend (beyond surface understanding) the depth of sacrifice that our veterans make, it in no way diminishes my gratitude.  He smiled again and told me that the VA has begun to improve and is much better than it used to be.

After this exchange, I shook each of their hands, and we parted ways.  As I walked out of the market, thoughts were racing through my head at a pace they rarely accomplish (not to say I'm retarded).  How can we as a nation throw so much money down the tubes while the defenders of our and women who fought in battle for a brief amount of time, yet mentally the war has never ceased...are cast aside and all too often virtually forgotten about?  While this large scale question is clearly for politicians, that does not mean there are things we as individuals can't do to try to remedy it.  When you see a veteran walking down the street or sitting down for a cup of coffee, I urge you to let him or her know how much you appreciate what he or she has done, and make sure that they know their work will never be taken for granted or forgotten.  Set aside some money, and donate it to Wounded Warriors or Disabled Veterans of America or a whole host of other doesn't matter how much or how little you give.  It is the gesture that can brighten the spirit of those who we needed and who now need us.

God Bless our men and women in uniform everywhere.



  1. This is not meant to be insulting in any way - You would be an awesome politician. You care about people, the country, and what's right. You'd be one of the few good men down in Washington.

    Ever consider it?

    Got my vote!

  2. I think you would like this Dopper,

    I own this episode if you'd like to see the whole thing.