This afternoon Hazel, Sam, and I made a trek to Costco. Since it was the day before the 4th of July, it was quite busy. We finished the shopping, and we were looking forward to our traditional Costco hot dog and churro lunch, but there was nowhere to sit. We finally found some seats next to a kind looking older couple, and started a conversation:
Me: It’s busy today
Mr: Yes, a bad day to come into town.
Me: Oh, you don’t live in Burlington?
Mr: No, I live on Camano Island
Me: I live in Anacortes.
Mr: Lived there long?
Me: A little over a year. My husband is in the military.
Mr: I was in the military once. So was my wife. And her dad was in three branches of the military.
We listened, interested, as he proceeded to give us a few tales of his military lineage and career, in the way old military folks love to do. He continued:
My son was in the military. He died in Iraq.
Me: (with sinking heart) Oh, I am so sorry. My husband is deployed right now.
Mrs.: What does he do?
Me: He is a flight surgeon
Mrs.: He is in a pretty safe position then right?
The mother of this fallen soldier then told me some of his stories. He really went on some impressive missions and accomplished some great things in Iraq. She continued:
“He died in Feb 2006. He pretty much knew it was a suicide mission. There had been two men, with three kids each, slated to go. He had no children so he spoke up and said 'No way, I’m going.' He called me the night before, as if knowing what would happen. But I now know six kids who are being raised by dads.”
Needless to say, all three of us were crying right there in the food court in Costco.
I could barely choke out a good bye as they left. I am grateful for them and their hero son. I'm glad they are the ones kind enough to let me sit next to them in the crowded food court.