Richard, (my husband), never really
talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam other than he had been
shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black
and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margret with Bob
Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.
A few years ago, Ann
Margret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard
wanted to see if he could get her to sign the treasured photo so
he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o'clock for the 7:30
When I got there after work, the line went all the
way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot and disappeared
behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore
employees announced that she would sign only her book and no
memorabilia would be permitted.
disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know
how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home. Ann
Margret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as second in
line, it was soon Richard's turn.
He presented the book
for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there
were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it.
Richard said, "I understand. I just wanted her to see
She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her
eyes and she said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and
I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did
for their country and I always have time for 'my gentlemen.'"
she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him.
She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she
met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she
appreciated them There weren't too many dry eyes among those close
enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he
were the only one there.
Later at dinner, Richard was very
quiet. When I asked if he'd like to talk about it, my big strong
husband broke down in tears. "That's the first time anyone ever
thanked me for my time in the Army," he said.
was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and,
for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll
never forget Ann Margret for her graciousness and how much that
small act of kindness meant to my husband.
I now make it a
point to say "Thank you" to every person I come across who served
in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful
for all those who have served their country.
If you'd like to pass on this story, feel
free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how
important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people
On behalf of those who DO appreciate all that
you did for us, thank you to each of you who receive this message
who have served or are serving our country in the armed services
or any other service.