A Veteran's Story

 


I noticed Bill sitting in our local park where I walk.  He glanced my way just as I finished the last exercise walk song on my playlist.  He shouted and pointed to my car:  “Hey, is that your car with the Nam front license plate?

 

I stepped closer into the veranda where Bill sat on a picnic bench.  I noticed his Vietnam Vet cap and instantly I knew why I walked there that day.  The Marine Vet served during the 1960’s, the same time span as my husband.  Bill talked a lot about the war evoking my emotions from laughter to tears.  My South Vietnam front plate often prompts a conversation with a stranger and I’ve learned a deep respect for it over the years.  It is my way of listening to a veteran.  I enjoyed listening to Bill.  He made me laugh in spots but he made me cry as well.  Like when he talked about the sandwich lady.

 

“Do you ever eat at the sandwich shop in the gas station down the street?”  I replied that I’ve order coffee once in that place with a turkey combo on Panini bread.

 

Bill frequently patronizes the place.  He knows the sandwich lady by name.  Mai was born in Vietnam but now lives in the United States.  Mai carefully prepares Bill’s sandwiches to his requests.  They’ve become friends.  I’m glad Bill told me the story of how he met Mai in the sandwich shop.  I needed a good cry.

 

I imagined Bill kicking up a conversation with Mai easily like he did with me. He’s a good story teller with surprising details and punch lines.  I listened carefully as Bill described unbelievable sorrow Mai faced in Vietnam.  She watched as American soldiers slaughtered both of her brothers right before her eyes.  I asked Bill, “How on earth, Bill, did you a US veteran soldier respond to her confession of such pain?”  Bill replied:  “I hugged her!  We both wept in each other’s arms.”

 

As I write this, I remember the word from the Lord I received this year:  Restoration!  I live in a small town easily overlooked on a map.  Isn’t it amazing how big God is?  He knows the least of us in the middle of nowhere, Arizona.  He knows the struggling waitress serving sandwiches as well as the tired old Vet with stories of horror and killing.  I see, today, that He makes good on His promise to restore all of us.  I expect to see restoration like this everywhere I look this year.

 

I share this story as we in the U.S. celebrate Veteran’s Day in a few days, November 11th.   We set aside a day to honor our men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom.  Some of them endure sleepless nights so we can live in peace.  Our war veterans live with pain both physical and mental.  These heroes took an oath to protect us and they deserve our thanks.

 

God, bless our veterans.

 

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”  Psalm 51:12

 


Comments

  1. If the Americans were so cruel as to slaughter her brothers, how come she came to live in America.

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    1. Isn’t it amazing how the Lord restores hearts? It appears Mai received the grace to forgive and her life is richer for it.

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    2. Apparently, America offered Mai more freedom and opportunities than the suppression she was under from communist Viet Cong.

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  2. Oh my goodness. Tears are coming to my eyes as I read this beautiful post. RESTORATION of the SOUL, HEART and MIND...God is so good at that! Hugs and blessings to you dear lady.
    Cindy

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    1. Only God can restore like that. I'm praising Him, too.

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  3. "I see, today, that He makes good on His promise to restore all of us."

    Thank you for saying this. 💙

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    1. Elyashib: "God restores," It is one of His many names.

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    2. Just came back to heart this again: "I see, today, that He makes good on His promise to restore all of us."

      💙

      "I expect to see restoration like this everywhere I look this year."

      Two hearts for this part. 💙💙

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  4. Goosebumps! I'm so touched by your seemingly random encounter with Bill. So many stories, so few listeners.

    PS - Bill's not the only 'good storyteller'! Thank you for this.

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    1. Random for sure! He was in the park with his wife, also exercising on the walk trail. She noticed me talking with him at the bench and I mentioned how I enjoy his stories. Her response: "He has so many stories!"

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  5. Lovely story Nobody knows fully what people go through in wars, whether participators or receivers. I remember once when my friend and I were evangelizing in a street and what everyone thought was an alcoholic approached me. He told me his story and began to cry. He had been in one of the wars and could not forgive himself for killing someone, and He used the alcohol to try to block out the memories. I told him that God would forgive him as he was so repentant. I knew it was what he needed to hear.

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    1. Beautiful testimony, Brenda! So glad you were there to help that gentleman. We never know where the good Lord will send us to share the Good News!

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  6. Thank you Mary for sharing this story. Its so beautiful how God orchestrated this friendship between Mai and Bill and I'm sure God put you in Bills path!

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    1. I feel blessed to share it! So glad you like it.

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  7. Such a sweet story, Mary. Thank you for honoring our vets. Love you.

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  8. What a beautiful story, Mary. Thank you for sharing. If we look for the little things we have in common, it makes restoration a little easier. <3

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  9. I had just fallen asleep only to be awakened by something. I haven't been blogging & had no desire for a while. Not because I'm tired doing it for the Lord but because of many circumstances that had unexpectedly occurred & needed to focus on healing & restoration of relationships. No wonder! You visited me. I lifted u up in 🙏 often & wished u a bright Christmas as we celebrated the true Reason for this holiday. Thank you for always remembering me also. No! I didn't imprint the sWORD "Stay strong in the Lord's mighty power!" He did! That was the first verse He taught me. I know better now... We face spiritual battles daily.
    So my heart is heavy after seeing your footprints at my place. It took me a while to drag myself & drop by here. I asked for the good Lord to bless you all, grant healing & whatever your petitions are, that i always agree with you! It's 1:40am. I suddenly woke up but this is what friends do, right? We lift each other up when noone has seen us fell! So... My sister in Christ, I am with you believing in miracles but you & i also know that nothing s impossible w/our good Lord!!!
    Hubby retired. We bought a new house in Florida only to cancel last minute as we felt the Lord's nudge not to go there at that time. But our strong relationship was tested w/sudden change of heart's desires in my hubby's heart. However, thanks be to God! What the spiritual enemy did the Lord turned to a stronger bond between me & him & our loving son & brought healing to some of our relationships w/his & my family. So glory be to God! We just want to downsize but the place is uncertain at this moment. I will keep bro Tom in my 🙏, so same with you & your family. Love you in Christ sister Mary. And again, I want to remind you & i to "stay strong in the Lord's mighty power!!!" ❤️🙏💐

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  10. You write so beautifully Mary. How special that Bill was able to share such incredible stories with you, so many veterans don't want to talk about their experiences. I can't even imagine the struggles that they deal with, so many difficult memories. May we never forget the incredible sacrifices made for our freedoms! Beautiful post dear friend! Trusting you are doing well :) Happy New Year to you!

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