VIETNAM IN THE GROCERY STORE
He was wearing one of those caps. We are in the grocery store and he is approaching. A veteran? If so I’m getting ready to greet him and offer him thanks for what he did for us, as is my custom.
“Excuse me sir. Your cap tells me you are a veteran, I think. Is that correct?” He stops, ramrod straight and offers a hand from a ramrod arm. “A Marine.” We shake hands, his eyes bright and alert. “Vietnam,” he says. He mentions two organizations I don’t understand. “Do you have a card?” He produces one quickly somehow, and offers it at once.
But his old face is pale: a ghost from haunted yesterday with eyes of Now: bright but hidden.
“You sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.” “Marines, ma’am,” he states. And we part.
Then I see that his card is filled with the names of military organizations related to Marines. I also notice he lives in the immediate neighborhood of an old veteran friend from the Merchant Marines.
Later I send his card to our friend and he tells me his neighbors report knowing who he is and that they consider him a nuisance.
Please send your Holy Spirit. Here, amidst uneasy peace in our country, one man’s anguish has become another man’s nuisance.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
(1 John 1:9)