There I was, this morning, standing on line at the bank, when an older man got on line behind me. On his lapel, he was wearing a CIB -- a Combat Infantry Badge, an honor given to those who have served in combat. I am a respectful sort by nature. My mom kind of beat that into me. So, I asked this man if he'd like to go in front of me on line and we had the following conversation:
Me: I see that you are wearing the CIB. May I offer you my place in line?
Him: That's very kind of you. I'm also 91 years old.
Me: Well, you certainly don't look it. [And he really didn't]
Him: Yes, I was 30 years old in WW II.
Me: Is that where you earned your CIB?
Him: Sure was. I fought at Omaha Beach and with Patton. I was even with British troops during the Battle of the Bulge. They were something else. Can you believe that every day at 4:00, they stopped their tanks, got out, and made tea? Couldn't believe it. Tea. They were tough little bastards, though, gotta give 'em that.
And with that, he was called to the next teller, although he thanked me for letting him cut ahead and we shook hands. I actually shook hands with someone who fought at Omaha Beach. Like I said in the title to this, you never know where courtesy is going to lead you or what interesting conversations you can have. That bit about the Brits was, I thought, priceless.Posted by Random Penseur at September 1, 2005 11:35 AM | TrackBack