She was five years old, just about to turn six and she made a World War II Veteran Cry. She didn’t mean to do it.

In Washington D.C., there is a monument built largely with private funds. It’s not as tall as many of the monuments, it’s not as audacious as those erected for past presidents and founders of our country. It’s really sort of a simple monument, the Monument for WW II Veterans in Washington D.C.,. That’s where it happened.

My Daughter had been on the mall with me and my wife, she played, walked through the congressional hallways and contemplated the height and meaning of the Washington Monument. She still believes in her Nation and her flag. Forgive us for being sentimental–we’re old. That’s her, on a warm day, in little girl clothes, looking up at the tower we built to honor General Washington. Then, we walked to the World War II Monument.

Daddy: is that man a hero?

When we arrived at the Memorial, there were families walking about it. The wind was blowing softly and the day was unusually mild for D.C. Then the bus arrived.

World War II may be unique among wars in which our country has fought. The young men and women who fought it are no more brave or good than the young men and women who fought in any of our wars. But, the scope of the war was unique: the entire world was truly at risk of being run over by a man who believed in the supreme power of the “science” of his day; in Hitler’s twisted mind he—like, Stalin, the man with whom he pad partnered before he betrayed him–read in Eugenics, the great “science” of his time, that there we grades of human beings, some “races” ahead of others. Some “races” of human beings were so far behind, indicated the “science” of Eugenics, that Hitler and Stalin would be doing the world a “favor” by wiping out men and women and children and little babies … even little girls who stare at the sky and see in it possibilities for love and hope and happiness. Mad men are not unique—Saddam Hussein was a mad man, Mao was insane—but the world had allowed a stink-breathed psychopath named Adolph to roll over human beings and, because of appeasement, the risk of his winning half the world was real.

Then our boys and girls got into the battle.

The bus I mentioned unloaded old men, some women, but mostly old men. They leaned on canes, they rode in wheel chairs, a few walked, but they were in the minority. Even in the warm weather they wore coats and hats.

Oh, their hats! They had emblems on their hats: some were ball caps, some were cowboy hats and others were the hats from their old uniforms, taken from drawers or trunks for just this occasion. The emblems on the hats told the stories of people who survived what their brothers and sisters had not, they had the names of battles and units and ships that faced walls filled with machine guns and bombs. They told the stories of fighting tanks in the desert and submarines at sea. That is when my daughter saw one particular man, in a particular wheel chair, who gave my little girl a particular sort of wink—not a purposeful one, an accidental one, a smidgen of joy on his face even as he remembered his fallen friends.

The old soldier had come to see the monument built to honor not himself, but his brothers and sisters.

WWII monument

My daughter gripped my hand and asked me, “Daddy, is that man in the wheel chair a soldier?” I told her he was. “What is the jewelry on his shirt and hat?” I told her they were medals and what they meant and what he had probably seen and done to rescue the world from pure evil.

“Is he a hero?”

“Why don’t you go ask him?”

She released my hand and walked over to the old soldier—the WWII Veteran—I followed, but not too close. This was her moment with this man, with this history.

“Hi.”

The man smiled at her. “Hello there”, he said.

She pointed at his medals: “my Daddy says you are a soldier.”

The man looked up at me and I smiled. He looked back at my Daughter.

“I was, yes, I was.” He took my Daughter’s hand and patter her head.

“Are you a hero?’

How do you answer that? My dear friends who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan—Bryan, Kelly, Ben, David, Dennis, Mark, Sonia and many more—tell me that they don’t feel heroic, they just did their jobs. But, how do you answer a little girl, her eyes filled with admiration and a sense that you—the old man in the wheel chair—are something more than a guy who did a job?

That’s when he cried and, with all the might he could muster, picked her up and set her on his knee. She touched his ball cap filled with emblems. “Little one”, the man spoke,” I am not a hero, I am just an old soldier … these men …” he sobbed a little and rubbed her back and then looked at her again, “my friends were heroes and soldiers and I came here for them.”

My Daughter looked into this man’s eyes and did something only a little one would ever do. She put her finger inside her sleeve and she wiped the man’s cheeks.

He laughed and I walked over.

She got down and said, “he says he is not a hero, but his friends are.”

What do you say to that? To your little girl with the tears of an old soldier on her bright pink and white sleeve? You know what you don’t do? You don’t ruin the moment snapping pictures, you absorb it into your being.

I looked the old soldier in his green eyes and said, “Honey … that’s what true heroes always say and we just have to tell them thank you.”

The old man nodded and mouthed thank you.

Thank you to everyone who served and to everyone who died serving. We hold you in our prayers. We offer our sleeves, we offer our hearts, we thank you for the safety in which our children will sleep tonight.

 

142 comments
Barbara
Barbara

My computer screen was fuzzy, too. Thank you to all veterans. My husband included USN Seabees. I love to meet veterans and talk to them. The stories are always heartwarming.

Shannon
Shannon

The science that was referenced was Eugenics. Eugenics was a racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed unfit. Preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Hitler believed he was doing God's will purifying the race--He believed it because of his indoctrination into Eugenics. Take a look at this article--http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796

You can also read his beliefs in Mein Kampf. Truly a glimpse into the psychotic mind of Hitler. He set out his plans clearly. In his first edition of Mein Kampf, Hitler stated that the destruction of the weak and sick is far more humane than their protection. However, apart from his allusion to humane treatment, Hitler saw a purpose in destroying "the weak" in order to provide the proper space and purity for the strong.

He was truly a sick man himself--His thoughts and his fascination with purification came from Eugenics movement. *I* agree with you it is not science. But during this time it was considered a science and people were drawn to it.

Pamelia Hartsfield
Pamelia Hartsfield

David, you said what I wanted..No need to repeat so I salute you and your response..God Bless You!!

Jennifer
Jennifer

Amazing, this makes me so proud of my country, my father (USN) and my husband (USAF) God bless every single one of our military, past, present, and future.

Peter Reid
Peter Reid

Actually it is both... He made a false faith called (positive Christianity) which was totally oppose to the origins of Christ...His faith made him the god.... The faith strongly believe in science over everything else and they believe in the Aryan's race as being "good science" for mankind... Even though an Atheists would say this is not their faith anyone who digs deep can tell it is.... So Hitler used words to brainwash a nation but his actions proved the lies in his words... I can give endless evidence to prove this to be true...

*lb
*lb

There is good science and bad science - the author merely pointed out that eugenics was bad "science".

Funny, last time i checked no church i know of believed in the "science" of eugenics .... which has it's roots in Darwinism and birthed the religion of evolution.

rboow
rboow

That was a very sweet story, something needed right now with all the bad stories we're hearing. My grandfather was a WWII Vet, but refused to talk about it with anyone. My brother was in Iraq 4 times and now he's in Afghanastan. Thank you Buzz Pro and everyone else that told Don that Hitlers reign of terror had nothing to do with Christians or any other kind of religion.

Michael Superczynski
Michael Superczynski

Great story! Thanks to all members of the military for their service in the past, present and future!

Michael Superczynski
Michael Superczynski

Did you not notice that science is in quotes? That means it isn't real science.

brandie
brandie

It was a wonderful story!! Made me tear up a little.. It is so true some vets refuse to except that they too are heroes.. You don't have to die in War to be a hero to the Americans at home... God bless all war vets!! And thank you for keeping our home safe...

The Redneck
The Redneck

"In fact; he developed most of his evilness through his indoctrinations from the church"

Here in the real world, Hitler tried to destroy the church.

I'd ask you to base your petty hatreds on facts.... but if you did that, you wouldn't have petty hatreds. Give it a try anyway.

Natetendo83
Natetendo83

I would leave both religion and science out of it. To be fair, the author put science in quotations because Hitler was so deluded that he believed what he believed to be scientific fact.

Religion and science had little to nothing to do with Hilter, the man was just insane and disturbed and it should be left at that.

Stephan Vladimir Bugaj
Stephan Vladimir Bugaj

Agreed, Dom. The Nazi anti-church group sought to create a new state religion, they were not scientific atheists. That's well documented history. So is the fact that Stalin trained to be a priest. Their prejudices were not based on science, they were traditional tribal and interdenominational hatreds hidden behind a scientific veneer. And do also note that eugenics was rejected my many scientists even in its heyday (it was also practiced by many Western scientists in its heyday, who used it as an excuse for policies depriving non-whites and even "lesser" whites of many roles in society -- also well documented history).

So you've polluted an otherwise beautiful story with anti-science ignorance. Too bad.

Cathybama
Cathybama

This article touched my heart very deeply! My Father was a Veteran of WWII (in the Navy), Korea, and Vietnam (both in the Army). He spent a total of 30 years in the Military. He took my Family and I to Washington, D.C. to see the Memorials erected there for Veterans, of whom I have the utmost respect. My Father was MY Hero, and yet in his eyes, he was not one. Never once did he tell us anything that occurred during his times in combat. I often wondered why he never did, and thought maybe it was due to the horrible things he had to witness, or perhaps because of the many friends he had lost. Either way, I loved him for being one of the reasons I could sleep safely and well every night, and for fighting to keep our Nation free from tyranny in every form. So, thank you to ALL Veterans, both living and dead, who are and will always remain MY HEROES!

Cathybama
Cathybama

Thank you, BuzzPo for pointing out those facts! Hitler was indeed never a Christian by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact, drew many of his conclusions based on the occult and even mediums.

P-G Matuszak
P-G Matuszak

Todd, thanks for writing and sharing this amazing story.

P-G Matuszak
P-G Matuszak

Bobby, you nailed how most of us feel. Those who beg for special recognition, such as BSM license plates, are usually those trying to justify something.

I'm proud of my service. I am proud of all I did during my combat tours. I know I did right and did good. It was my job to do so, and others depended upon it, as I depended on others doing theirs.

My DD214 speaks for itself. It's public record (mostly). Anybody that interested can request a copy from the DoD and/or VA.

However, I did see real heroes. Some were close friends who are no longer among the living.

Keep strong, brother.

Les
Les

Thank you for sharing.

Jay
Jay

I am fortunate to witness moments like this almost every Saturday. Meeting men and women who were part of the history I read about in books and saw in movies. It is very humbling to hear these hero's tell their stories. They were doing their duty....serving their country. Saving the free world never crossed their minds! So humble and down to Earth....every one of them. I would encourage you to include the meglomaniacs on the Pacific Theater of Operations in you blog. Yes, Hitler was pure Evil. However, no less evil than those that attacked us without a declaration of war and committed scores of atrocities against other races they considered inferior. The Japanese. Half those Vets you saw fought in the PTO against Hirohito and his forces. Some were tortured POW's by the Japanese. It is a good article and I enjoyed it. I just wish it wasn't focused on Hitler and Stalin...who was an Allie.

Freddy
Freddy

You seem to forget about the Stalin hitler pack! Also about the genicide committed on the Ukrainians and any other poor person in that butcher Stalins way! Maybe in a large way you as a country deserved what you got for not stopping such a evil evil man!

Freddy
Freddy

You seem to be one sided in your argument! He did push science as a way of making a super soldier! I suggest you read history!

Michele Rossi
Michele Rossi

Could you say more? I don't understand-- you are saying this particular site has a slant to it? Do you think the story is made up?

Stefani
Stefani

As a veteran of 23 years and a mother, this story brought me to my knees and I just wept. I don't think I've ever seen the true spirit of a soldier captured so perfectly. You used the phrase in another context but wearing the uniform and all that it means is something that is "absorbed into your being". It isn't the money or the accolades, it starts for some as a sense of duty but becomes a kinship, respect and admiration that I cannot adequately describe, for those that you serve with, as well as those whose footsteps you followed in and those who carry on after we are gone. Thank you.

Judy Woods
Judy Woods

We also thank them, the hero's, with our tears. Which come straight from the heart. I thank all of those men and women that served, in all wars or "police actions" although no tickets were given. God Bless all of you.

Deana J. Shaffer
Deana J. Shaffer

My Uncle, Donald Dunham, served in Korea. I asked him once if he felt like a hero, even though a lot of people consider Korea a "Forgotten War." He looked me straight in the eye and said, "No. The ones who lost their lives were. Me, I was just doing what I was told to do. That was my job."

Personally, I consider ANY soldier, who fought in ANY war, a hero. To any and all veterans who may read this THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND GOD BLESS

Jo Waldron
Jo Waldron

And yet every Veteran has to continue the fight on home soil to secure the benefits....that have already been earned. Where is the compassion America? Where is the revolution that touts how incredibly wrong this situation is? Senator Bob Dole was the force behind creating this momument...and for good reason. The man is extraordinary in all that he does. This momument speaks to this. Come on people---lets change the force of humanity! Jo Waldron, Disabled American for the Nation, selected by President Ronald Reagan

William Helm
William Helm

This was a very touching story that really moved me. Every military man and woman who has served out country deserves our admiration, love and respect. Those who gave their lives, deserve even more so. The blessing that belong to them, they may not be able to receive, but those who knew them best were the ones who served with them. They are the ones who stand in their place and receive the reward of a little girl, who reaches out and touches their hearts in a way none of the rest of us can.

Teresa
Teresa

Because it is in quotations marks it is meant to suggest that it is in fact not science.

vfwmowebcom
vfwmowebcom

Made this old mans eyes well up with tears.

Steve-o
Steve-o

This is a very heart-warming and beautiful story. BUT--

This is the part where the person who posted this comes in...

PLEASE learn how to type in decent English grammar and spelling or have someone who knows how to, do so.

It diminishes the story and lowers the respectability of the person who wrote it!

Donna
Donna

My dad served on the USS Allen and was in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. All of my brothers served in the Navy, one of whom--like our dad--served for 20 years. My husband served with the Marines in Vietnam, and now I am proud to say that my 20 year old daughter in now a sailor in the Navy. They are all heroes to me, as are all who have served, and are serving, to keep this country free. God bless all of them.

Melody Wilson
Melody Wilson

Dorn, this level of evil is not from a church or denomination or scripture - it is a perversion of all of the above. Hitler is proof-positive of evil/satan's existence.

Anthony D Tavernia Sr.
Anthony D Tavernia Sr.

I am a Vietnam vet and I cried reading something that AMERICANS FORGOT. Thank you

Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan

So what made my contribution unacceptable ?

Corri
Corri

Thank you for sharing. I truly enjoyed reading this!! :)

Lev Bobylev
Lev Bobylev

Well it is good story my friends but my strong advise don't make parallels between Hitler and Stalin! The first one have nazzy ideology and as you mention eugenics that have been practiced in USA early on...

Stalin lead multicultural country with 15 countries as member former USSR - this was a biggest attempt to build a communism and in that days,

our ideology and faith was in equality and brotherhood of all peoples and nations.

Thats my friend is an opposite ideology to nazzy regime that almost swallows whall Europe and take huge step on our Motherland.

In those days USSR was almost alone in fighting back this world enemy, only after turning point when Soviet Union stop the German armada and slowly push it back - America become our ally!

Indeed that was a great but very painful days and devastated Europe and our land still remember our Heroes!

So Please be accurate and don't insult our memory and memory of our Grandfathers! Peace!

Derek Godfrey
Derek Godfrey

Nostalgia. Brought back fond memories of my own father who served with the Royal Air Force and saw action against the Japanese in Burma and Indonesia.

bpgagirl22vanow
bpgagirl22vanow

My father's family had 2 perish on the USS Arizona. RIP to all our brave and valiant Soldiers. RIP Daddy, Semper Fi, Korea, Okinawa, Philippines.

Jensee
Jensee

God isn't prejudiced. The scriptures clearly state this. He's not against any human, race or nationality. Only the false religions of man have created such things.

Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan

I am an Englishman living in London .

I remember with gratitude all of the young men who came to help but never got home .

Memorials to WW2 Americans are found in many parts of the UK , you may like to know that they are well tended and visited by others who , like me , remember their friendliness and generosity . I knew many at the local US Army base , but one day in 1944 they were all gone . No more free chewing gum , no more candies , no cheery waves from the Deuce-and-a-half full of soldiers .

Selfish ? I was only 8 so did not---could not , understand the enormity of death , even though it was all round me in the blitz .

Only as I grew older did I realise the sacrifice .

As a British Serviceman , I had the honour to serve alongside American Servicemen , but after WW2

They were still generous , still ready to make that sacrifice .

God Bless America

eldine myers
eldine myers

I'm proud of all our soldiers ; if they die are came home without aleg are arm .THEY ARE MY HERO FOR VERY.I'M PROUD OF YOU"LL.

Donna
Donna

Brought back memories of when I took my dad to visit the memorial. He was in WWII and when he saw the wall of stars he cried for those who lost their life's. One of his friends is buried at Normandy! My dad also said he wasn't a hero, but I consider him one. He's no longer with us, but left a legacy by the life he lived.

MaryRose Martineau
MaryRose Martineau

I read all re VETERANS, but never have I been so touched as with this article. My granddaughter now serving in Afghanistan just sent it to me. Thank you, LauraKate, and thank you for serving our country, you and so many others.

Denise
Denise

This brought tears to my eyes. I always sign 'thank you' to any veteran I see, young or old. Touching, and honoring. Do we have to be old to understand and honor these men and women? I have a son, a daughter and son-in-law and so many friends who have or are serving. It's very humbling. Thank you for teaching your daughter about honor, courage, sacrifice and commitment to something bigger than herself.

Judy Rivers
Judy Rivers

What is wrong with you??!!! Here in America, our military and veterans are honorable and wonderful....yes Adolph, Lenin & Stalin were evil, and our WWII veterans stood with courage and honor and stopped that evil. There is no agenda to that...it used to be that good was good, evil is evil. Bigoted? What in heavens name was bigoted? It was the beautiful story of a little girl and an old man who was a hero. I thought the story was wonderful, I am sorry you seem to be having a bad day.

Judy Rivers
Judy Rivers

I do graphics for a whole lot of old people, there are like 7 communities that I look after from afar. I always try to make their news etc as happy & beautiful as I can, I so admire my parents' generation, we're losing a lot losing them. With your permission of course, I would love to share this story with them There are I think about 40 veterans, too. That is such a wonderful story, your daughter (or the veteran) will never ever forget. God bless all of you!

Samuel
Samuel

This site has an agenda. I feel that this article was more or less a platform to try and push that "science" bit you're talking about. Sure, it's "supporting our troops", but that's the point. If you put your own nonsense in an article like this, it makes people sympathize with the good while overlooking the bigoted undertones. Don't trust this site, plain and simple. When you try and skew something like this into a political statement (and trust me, this is trying to do just that), you bastardize the point you're trying to make. Very, very poor journalism.

BuzzPo
BuzzPo

No, thank YOU! I am honored that you liked the article. We thank you for serving.

BuzzPo
BuzzPo

Go away and never return. I mean it. Leave the site.

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