Friday, November 11, 2011

A Simple Handshake; Veteran's Day

Two years ago, we were strolling through a local theme park enjoying the cool crisp air of an autumn evening. It was holiday season and the park's Christmas parade was rounding the corner. The group of us was caught up in a hectic frenzy of finding good seats and marking our viewing territory with bags, purses, and jackets within the chaotic crowd of eager parade watchers. For a split second within the whirlwind of chaos, I glanced over my shoulder and watched a total stranger reach out and shake the hand of a Vietnam war veteran who is now in his 80s. His blue eyes flickered within a blanket of tears as he sat silenced under his war veteran ball cap reflecting the stranger's gratitude. Flashing lights, parade music, and crowds laughing and devouring powdered-sugar drenched funnel cakes circled around the seated man, but the immense jolt of simple gratitude from a stranger left him quiet and propelled into a storm of memories and deep thoughtfulness. 

I couldn't imagine what pain and horrific images those twinkling blue eyes of Stan Potoshnik had seen so many years ago, but one thing is for certain, I will never forget the memory of that day and my own heart-felt gratitude for him and the long list of heroes that have given their lives for me and my loved ones. To Chris Junkerman's grandfather, Mr. Potoshnik, who served in the U.S. Air Force, to my own grandfather, Rex Ayers, who served in the U.S. Army, to Jeremy Galloway who is a freshly graduated Marine, and to all the men and women from the past to the future who have or will serve in the US Armed Forces, we say, "thank you". 

Thanks from the bottom of our hearts.  Happy Veteran's Day.


Junkerman + Jones


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