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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Turning 40-something + My Amazing Day


This post is a little bit delayed, but I'm old now so it's okay.

Actually, I was old before but as of Friday I'm a year older (I was born in 1967, you do the math. I'm too old.) so I'm entitled to move a little slower.


Nah, I'm just making up excuses. I found out my duathlon scheduled for July 23rd has been postponed and I'm really bummed. I know I shouldn't let something so trivial take the wind out of my sails, but it has.

Don't worry. I'll get over it.

I'm going out of town this weekend because my niece, who is now a senior (as in high school, not as in old like me), is going on a college visit to my alma mater, Southwestern U.

Can I just say..? I LOVE THIS SCHOOL!!! I got a lot of opportunities there I might not have gotten anywhere else, not to mention meeting and becoming lifelong friends with some of the most amazing people I know. My niece could probably go to any school she wanted (yes, she's just that kind of kid - but in a cool good way, not a nerdy drive-you-crazy way. Not that I know anyone like that.), but I hope SU appeals to her. It's an awesome place to be.
My Amazing Day
The Patriot Guard Riders were asked to provide an escort today for a USMC veteran and former judge who passed away this week. The size of our group varies depending on the day and time we're requested so it's hard to know who is going to be at any particular mission. Most of the guys in the group are veterans and I, as a non-military person - am awed just being in their presence.
Standing in the flag line at the Veterans Cemetery

One of the things I love most about these guys is how humble and unassuming they are. You would never know just by talking to them some of the horrific things they went through and some of the heroic things they did in their respective wars.

One of the men I met on Friday, who was also there today, is a perfect example of this. His name is Robert, but I call him SpyderMan because he rides a Can-Am Spyder (a three-wheeler). We had a little down time today while waiting outside the church so I sat down next to him and we started chatting. He is an INCREDIBLE man. It wasn't until I was able to sit and talk one-on-one with him that I noticed a few things:
  • He did THREE tours in Vietnam
  • He was awarded the Purple Heart
  • He was awarded the Bronze Star
  • He was wounded in battle and lost his left leg above the knee
  • He has two small dogs, one of whom he rescued from a jerk mechanic who neglected her
  • He walks his dogs every night with the help of a small red scooter
Of all the things I learned, what do you think we spent the most time talking about?

That's right - HIS DOGS!!! This man is a decorated war hero, and he spent about 20 minutes showing me pictures of his dogs and telling me stories about them. Most of this other stuff I found out when I looked him up online (in a non-stalkerish kind of way, of course).

It just doesn't get more awesome than that.
Vietnam War Hero

Don't get me wrong - it's not like I think all these guys do is walk around talking about their war experiences or bragging about their medals. I guess my point is, this is typical of the kind of selflessness that permeates the members of this group. They are there to honor a fellow brother (or sister) in arms, to show their respect for his (or her) service, then go quietly home to their every day lives.

Being able to stand with them and show my respect is an honor for me, and I am proud to be a member of this group.
Preparing for the honor escort

Yes, this was an amazing day.

My baby all dressed in PGR gear
 

7 comments:

Shelby said...

Happy belated birthday!!!

That is so amazing about the vets and a special place in my heart goes out to animal lovers =)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Cynthia O'H said...

Happy Birthday! You're as young as my little brother!
There's nothing better than dogs to bring two people together. Your chat must have been amazing.

Caratunk Girl said...

Happy Birthday Kat!! (late)

What an amazing day. The selflessness in this group of people is humbling, I am sure. What an amazing experiance.

Kat said...

Thanks, everyone!

5 Miles 2 Empty said...

Happy birthday! And um, hardly "OLD". =)

Love the Patriot Riders. I have had to honor of seeing them at a number (more than I care to recall) of funerals of my husband's fallen comrades, my friend's husbands. I am thankful for what they do and also sickened by the fact that they are needed, for the protest and whatnot. I can't even look at the photos without tearing up. So thank you for putting some names to the faces.

Kat said...

I know what you mean.

Thanks for commenting.