« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 173: Visiting Hours

2020-10-06 | 🔗

When you have a family this big, you’re guaranteed an occasional visit…

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey guys it's micro, and this is the way I heard it. The only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span is, Number one. Seventy three and it's called visiting hours visiting hours. Wrote it just the other day after I, received an email from a fella named, Wes who puts things together over at the american veteran Center every year around veterans day? I do something for these guys, usually I I I some sort some sort of retrospective couple years ago. I did something on the little raid every year. It's something a little different, but it's a great celebration. They put together for our veterans and this year is kind of a big deal there commemorating the end of the second
world war, the seventy fifth anniversary of the end of world war. Two and Wes asked me if I would like to interview a couple of fighter: pilots highly decorated, fighter, pilots, legends in fact well on into their nineties, but still sharp as attack I said. Obviously, of course I would love to do that. So I'm going to be doing that shortly and I'll tell you where you can watch the interview and and how you can check out the whole event sometime in the next couple of weeks. But it got me thinking you know about truly about the greatest generation. There's not much. I can say that hasn't already been said- but I remember when, The last time you been to a nursing home or a hospital to visit anyone visiting hours are such a of such a big deal to people who otherwise can't get out of there
situation and last time I went full disclosure. It was it was years ago. It was one my when my grandmother was in an assistant care facility I go in there. I visit her and then I'd visit with some of the other people who were in there, and I remember talking to an old soldier and and just seeing his eyes light up. You know he didn't know me really, but he knew of me. He had seen dirty jobs and I had a chance to visit with him Damn it so easy to forget, you know the impact of a visit. To somebody who otherwise can't get out. So that's what inspire the story you're about to hear, I hope you like it it's a little different than the kind of thing I typically do on the podcast, but it it's important, I think and kind of personal. So I hope you like it. It's brought to you by
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river, the flows below it's a good home as homes go a defined play is to welcome his family, come to see him every day? In fact, though, they are right now strolling up the driveway to say hello. The old soldier is always available during visiting hours, always a lot of men, his age, wind up alone and forgotten, especially in place like this, but not him family members are always dropping by to spend time and share story or keep him up to speed the latest news from home just last week his daughter, Susan, had stopped by to tell him his grandson had been accepted to Harvard how about that, and just yesterday, cousin Billy brought word the old general store where he had his wife, God rest. Her soul was now a Starbucks. Well time marches on These visits from loved ones are lifelines just like
the letters he received in France all those years ago June, fifth, one thousand nine hundred and eighteen one day after the battle of Belleau Wood, he was only a private back. Then a teenager from batten Rouge among the first wave of Marines to charge into that unspeakable meet grinder on the modern river. He was still in shock from what he had seen on that terrible day. The, the ring machine gun fire, the constant shelling and the brutal hand to hand combat, but then a letter from Bakersfield arrived with his mother's writing on the front, a letter from home, which he read in a muddy trench, surrounded by dead friends. What his kid brother had made the basketball team when, did he grow so tall sally. The little tomboy from down the block was Biloxi Buttermilk festival, Queen unbelievable and freckles, the
Hocker Spaniel just had a litter of ten puppies, all of which were being named in his honor and give it away to good homes around Boise. With every sentence, the young marine had felt a little more human, a little more determined to make it back home to the people he loved Obviously, that determination paid off not only Did he make it back from Bela? Would he made it back from our Dan, the battle of e pray. And saw Mayo each one bloodier than the next, for his heroism. He was awarded the medal of honor, as well as the Victoria Cross Unprecedented but the old soldier was still a young man and just getting started when japanese bomb, Pearl Harbor, guess, who sleeping peacefully in his bunk the? U S, S, Arizona he was lieutenants by then fifteen hundred sailors assigned to the mighty battleship when a torpedo bomb fell.
From the sky and sent them all Toward the bottom of the Pacific. Somehow he had made it back to the surface. Only to find the ocean burning with thousands of gallons of gasoline and littered with hundreds of his shipmates burning to death and the salty brine. It's a miracle that anyone survived that terrible morning, and yet just six months later dairy was again in the Coral sea and then again at the back of midway, Corregidor Mindanao and lose on. After that it was back. Europe, where he stormed the beaches of Normandy, fought the battle of the bulge and distinguished himself at Anzio through it all, no matter where the war raged, those letters from home.
Always found him little lifelines. That reminded him of why he was over there in the first place. His family could never know how much that meant to him or how much their visit today would lift his spirit. His final battle had taken place in Korea Fourteen November nineteen, fifty the chosen reservoir a cold front from Siberia sent the temperature, plunging to thirty six degrees below zero. He was a captain by then commanding a few good. Men Who were slowly freezing to death around him? It was the bloodiest battle he'd ever seen. Even though, the blood of his wounded men froze before it had a chance to flow again. He never expected to find him. Among the survivors, the froze and chosen as they were called, but neither did he expect a visit from the President of the United States who stood by
or him long after his return and proudly declared to all assembled that there would never be another soldier like him. As his loved ones draw near, the guards step aside leaving him to relax in his usual spot. While getting the latest updates from Biloxi or Boise or Batten Rouge, or was it Bakersfield honestly, it's hard to keep it all straight. He is old, after all, an old soldier whose real family, includes every debt american who never made it back and all the loved ones who still grieve their collective passing. The president was right. There will never be another soldier like him because today every soldiers dna is kept on file. So his
her remains no matter how small can be positively identified. Thus, the old soldier really is the last this kind, a legendary warrior who everybody has heard of, but nobody knows A faceless hero who looks down on a field of green and the Potomac River that flows below there in a place called Arlington. You can find him still waiting for visitors and relaxing for eternity in the tomb he calls home the tomb of the unknown soldier anyway. That's the way I heard it.
Transcript generated on 2020-10-13.