Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in
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 signing.
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.
Richard was 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 it."
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.'"
With that, 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.
That night 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
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 make.