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 book store 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 Margaret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as 2nd
in line, it was soon Richard's turn. He presented the book for her
signature and then took out the photo with many shouts from 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 was 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",
Richard, like many others, came home to people who spit on him and
shouted ugly things at him. 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-Margaret 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 make.
God Bless Our Armed
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