#fattofabover50 #vietnamvet #mybrother

Day 181 – On this Memorial Day, I spent some time with my brother who is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. A former deep sea diver, he has lived and worked all over the world. Retired and thankfully living near me, he is a big fan of the sea and sea food, so a few weeks ago, I’d taken him to lunch at a local fresh catch haunt.

Throughout the entire meal he kept looking over at the couple seated across from us. I was getting fairly nervous and self-conscious. They were in their late 60’s or early 70’s and he had a baseball cap on with some numbers and a symbol of some sort. Nothing odd or unusual. They looked quite anonymous and happily so!

I go to pay the bill and realize he’s made a beeline straight to the couple. I run after him only to hear, “Sir, may I shake your hand? I just want to say thank you for your service. Wow, you must be a pilot! Wow, I was on the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga and you guys were really brave. It’s an honor to meet you.”

The guy clearly was touched and had to stop and catch his breath, clear the catch in his throat, stand up and give a heartfelt and hearty handshake with a “Thank you for YOUR service!” back to my brother. Then he introduced us to his wife who had a smile from ear to ear. She too was ALSO in the service during the Vietnam War. My brother and she warmly embraced. I stood in silence. My brother was sooooo happy to have found people to communicate with about something he rarely speaks about.

The three of them went at it. The whose, whats, wheres, and hows of the Vietnam War. A war that shaped and defined their generation. A war that drafted and somewhat derailed my brother’s bright future…or at the very least, the one he’d intended. But on this day, and in a small sea food restaurant, these strangers found each other and honored each other without hesitation or reservation. I can’t believe I didn’t get a photo of them together! I think I was just stunned! For a public place, it seemed intensely personal and I just stood back. To see my brother’s eyes light up and hear his laughter, is indelible and happily remembered on this important American holiday. He deserved that moment and more.

Mercifully, pride has no calories and I’m allowed shellfish on my weight loss program!

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