The old man was looking at the engine.
I put my groceries away, and watched the old gentleman.
I saw a young man, early twenties, walk towards the old man. The old gentleman took a few steps towards him.
I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something.
The young man put his groceries into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man.
I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying:
"You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age!"
And with a wave of his hand, got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.
I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.
He went to his wife and spoke with her; perhaps telling her it would be okay.
I had seen enough, and I approached the old man.
He saw me coming and stood straight, and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'
He smiled, and quietly nodded his head.
I looked under the hood, and knew whatever the problem, it was beyond me.
Looking around, I saw a gas station, and I told the old man I would be right back.
I drove to the station and went inside.
There were three attendants.
Approaching one of them, I related the problem the old man had with his car.
I Offered to pay them if they would follow me and help him.
The old man had pushed the heavy car into the shade and was comforting his wife.
When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help.
As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.
When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too.
I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?'
He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal .... He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over.
As we talked we heard the car engine start and saw the mechanics lower the hood.
They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me.
I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.
He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket.
We shook hands, and I said goodbye to his wife.
I told the mechanics that I would follow them back to the station.
I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.
One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking much like the card the old man had given to me.
Both men told me they were Marine Corps Reserves.
Again we shook hands and as I was leaving, one of them told me to look at the card the old man gave me.
I said I would and drove off.
I pulled over after driving two blocks and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time.
The name of the old gentleman was on the card in gold leaf and under his name was written:
'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'
I looked up from the card and smiled and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help.
He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.
Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America.
Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them.
America is not at war.
The U.S. Military is at war.
America is at the Mall.
If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!