Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A Veterans Day Tale

When this day comes every year, time almost stands still. I make a special call to my grandfather and thank him for his service. Our conversation never ends with my simple appreciation, it is only the beginning. Every year for as long as I can remember, my grandfather would tell stories of his service on Veterans Day. I have heard these stories over and over again and never tire hearing them. This morning, he told me one of my favorites and I would love to share it with the entire Trucking Nation as a special appreciation for our Veterans and to honor their service.

He always started with the same opening description of the day...

It was a quiet dark morning. The kind of quiet that can make a man go crazy.
I remember looking over at Sgt. Rosson while in the wheelhouse and noticing the ghost white color of his face. It was at that moment that it hit me. In just a few hours we were going to be in battle and that thought scared me to my core. My buddy Knox, who had been with me since basic, came up and put his arm around me. He handed my me a smoke and said "Here Lear, this might help ease your mind for a moment". It helped for a second, but the view of all the surrounding ships as we move closer to the beaches shocked my mind back to reality. I had to man up quick, because this was a war and I couldn't change anything.
I'm not going to get into the details of the events that followed, Hollywood has done a good job of that. But before we landed on the beaches, before the war really started for us, Knox took one last moment to talk to me. These were the last words he ever said to me, to anyone really, and I will never forget them, no matter how old or far gone my mind becomes.
He said, "Lear, take this letter. Now don't read it unless you know I ain't breathing. They are my final written words to my mother, and some instructions of what to do with my belongings back home. Well, that's the first page, the second page is for my son, make sure he knows I love him. I'm giving this to you because if I don't survive this, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt you will. You're too stubborn to die anywhere else but back in Tennessee. Oh, and I don't know if anyone has told you this, but you should smile more. For the only one in his entire hillbilly family to have all his teeth, you should show them off a bit more while you still can."

Only Knox could make me laugh at such a somber moment in time. I'd like to tell you I never read that letter, but PFC Christopher David Knox bravely fought and died for his country during WWII. When I got back home and opened the letter to know where to deliver it, the opening line was....

See, I knew you were too stubborn. Don't forget to smile hillbilly.

My grandfather still has that letter and opens it every Veterans Day and Memorial Day and just smiles. He tells me every time that he may be a Veteran and considered a hero, but Knox is his hero. He claims if it weren't for Knox, he wouldn't be here for me to call early in the morning every Veterans Day for a story.

To all our veterans, The entire TruckLogics Team and myself salute you for your service, sacrifice, and bravery. Thank you for everything you have done.

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