A Tribute to the Greatest Generation
by Hardeep Chawla
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Every once in a while you come across something that speaks to your heart and you just have to share it. A young friend of mine posted this to Facebook the other night, and I am sharing it with his permission. It carries the raw emotion of a true patriot and someone whose heart was changed by a gentleman from the Greatest Generation:
“I almost cried today. An elderly gentleman came into my office and very nicely said, “will you please ride with me down the elevator because I can’t do it alone.” He seemed upset. I said, of course, I’ll ride with you. I was concerned for his safety, so I went along just to make sure he was all right. In the elevator, he told me that during World War II he and his group were stranded in an underground shaft during a battle. It was so dark he couldn’t see an inch in front of his face. Once they were rescued, they commenced fighting, and he barely survived. Now, all of these years later he is too scared to go in elevators alone but too old to take the stairs. All these years later, he is impacted daily by war. The man thanked me excessively as I tried not to break down in front of him. I wanted to tell him, “no problem. I owe you everything”…I wanted to tell him, “I love you, and I’ll always remember you.” I wanted to tell him “thank you for the America I grew up in.” I wanted to tell him, “I enjoy doing what I do every day because of you”… But I couldn’t find my voice. All I could say was “yes sir.” I realized in that moment that this man spent the prime years of his life in the trenches fighting for the freedom I enjoy. I spent the prime years of my life trying to get ahead for myself. I have always put me first and had the freedom to do so because of him and his brothers. I am proud to be an American. I am proud of the heritage I have, which was earned for me by better men than me. I am proud that I live in a country that was built on principles. While athletes are protesting the flag and popular culture is condemning our nation, I am reminded by this man of why we are great. There are only a few things I consider sacred, and my country’s flag is one of them. The national anthem is not the time to protest. The national anthem is a time to honor our Heroes and celebrate the greatest ideas and accomplishments of our country. It is a time to celebrate the best we have to offer. We have problems. We must address our problems, but let’s not address them during our anthem. There are weeds in every garden. Just because some Americans treat other Americans unfairly does not mean our country is not great. I promise that every time I hear the anthem I will get my sorry, selfish ass out of my seat and I will show respect. If you can’t do the same, then find a flag you are proud of, move to that country, and KISS MY ASS on your way out of town.”
– Matthew Barton is a small business owner who resides in Batesville, Mississippi with his wonderful wife Megan and furry friends.
Thank you, Matthew, for honoring the Greatest Generation in your comment and your life. You inspired me today!