Too many veterans go unrecognized for their service and sacrifice. But Lou learned that some people respect veterans in a very big way.
Lou and his wife Annette were enjoying an evening meal at their local Cracker Barrel. It would have been an unexceptional night for the couple, except that Lou was wearing his U.S. Navy Vietnam veterans cap.
A young man recognized the cap and walked over to Lou’s table to chat with the old man. Lou found it strange, until he heard what the young man had to say.
Apparently the young man was a marine and was at the Cracker Barrel with several of his friends. They saw Lou’s cap and recognized his position as a veteran and decided to let him know how much they appreciated his service. The young man and his friends were also Marines and recognize the sacrifice and dedication that Lou had to have made and decided to show their appreciation.
Lou could tell they were sincere because…
“I knew they were military by their haircuts- high and tight.” said Lou.
It didn’t take long for the other servicemen to approach Lou’s table to give their own words of appreciation. They didn’t want to interrupt his meal, but decided there was no way they could let Lou go without thanking him.
Lou spent some time talking with each of the young men. He wished them well in their future service in the military and gave each young man a handshake. He thought that’d be the end of it.
But the young men weren’t done yet
The couple went on with the rest of their night. The conversations already made their days that much brighter, but it became better on their way out. As it turned out, the young men paid it forward and paid for their entire meals.
Lou, flattered by the gesture, approached the men’s table to give one final thank you. He expressed that they didn’t have to do that. But the young men insisted since ‘it was the least they could do.’
Lou was then given one final surprise
Lou took his wife towards the door only to be greeted by the young men. They formed a line and waited for Lou so they could all give him handshakes and hugs to show their thanks. The Vietnam vet had never been more proud.
He was so overwhelmed by this kindness that he started to cry. He had this to say:
“They filed in front of my table, stood in line, and each of one of them again put his hand out, shook my hand, thanked me, hugged me, and walked to my right.”
But what about the rest of the restaurant
It didn’t take long for the restaurant to notice what was going on. When the other patrons learned about Lou and the kind act from these marines, they joined in. They watched in polite silence and applauded when Lou was saying his final goodbyes for the evening.
It’s just incredible to think about how this veteran’s service was recognized and rewarded on this one fateful evening. It’s a memory that we’re sure no one there will ever forget.
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