A Smile on Veterans Day

by | May 4, 2017 | Gratitude

As I approached the resting area in front of the nursing home at James Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, I noticed a nice looking older gentleman sitting alone at one of the tables. He looked sad and I felt the need to talk to him.

I walked over to his table and sat down on one of the chairs in front of him. I smiled at this fellow and he smiled back, the effort not really reaching his red-rimmed eyes.

I said a friendly, “Good morning, Happy Veterans Day, and thank you and God bless you for what you did for me.” He responded with a “thanks” to me also. We, as veterans have a sense of pride and comradeship that must have been part of our Basic Training. I know it comes from a deep understanding of each of our different ways and times in which we served this country.

As we talked I learned this kind man had fought in WW2 and his wife, his lifelong love, had died a just couple years before. He had sold their home in New York because the memories that remained were too much to bear. His health had deteriorated so he moved to Florida to start a new life.

The oddest thing happened when he mentioned his little Pomeranian dog. His eyes sparkled as he talked of Buggies’ antics. This dog was his friend and he missed him so much since his stint in the hospital. I realized then he was a patient in the nursing home.

He talked of how his loving little dog would wake him in the mornings by jumping on him as if to say, Hey, get up! You are burning up daylight!” This furry friend had helped him through his tragedy of losing his wife. Buggie had been there to there to watch him cry for his lost love. He had been there to listen to all the all the old war stories and seemed to understand and console when nobody else could or would take the time.

I learned so much in so little time from this lonely old soldier. As I bid him farewell, I told him to smile. It is free, simple to do and the rewards are tremendous! He smiled a big smile at me. I saw a glimmer of hope and this was when I realized the blessing was all mine for having met this fellow.

I believe that smiling soothes the soul and is a golden opportunity to meet a new friend. I also know that God reaches out His loving arms to us in so many ways with these small miracles that happen every single day if we just look and expect them.

Thank God for veteran’s everywhere! Today is a year since I met this man and pray he is still alive as we have so few WW2 veterans left. I shall always remember him and when I do, I know I have so many reasons to smile.

Sharlett F. Hunt Sharlette863@aol.com


A Smile on Veterans Day