Today, we (as in, Mrs. Gunny and myself) are in Florida and plan on making a little day trip over to see Mustang and his beautiful wife. Okay, okay... stand AT EASE, Colonel. Just kidding! You can quit shoving the dogs and the Mrs. in the car as you try to make a quick exit. Besides, we have a beautiful condo overlooking the snow white beach and the beautiful waters of Destin. It would take a WMD to get us outta here.
Early this morning, from our fourth floor balcony, we noticed an older gentleman walking very slowly down the sidewalk. His back was to us and he was stooped over and using a cane. He could barely put one step in front of the other and it took him forever to get to the wooden steps that led down to the beach.
When he got to the sand, he took off his shoes and neatly put them on the railing. After making sure his shoes were secure, he began rolling up his trouser legs. After accomplishing this (which seemed to take forever,) he proceeded to walk to the edge of the ocean, kicking up bits of pieces of this and that with his cane... again, seemingly to take forever.
Mrs. Gunny knows military and commented that she thought that he had probably been in the military. I told her, “Yes, he’s military and he’s saying ‘Goodbye’ to the sea. He knows that he may never be able to do this again.”
As the warrior stood at the edge of the sea, he did exactly what I thought he’d do; he came to a smart ‘Parade Rest’ and stood there for several moments. I have to admit, it brought a lump to my throat. An old man and the sea -- just one more time.
As he made his way back our way, I put my binoculars on him to look at the cap he was wearing. We were both right about his being in the military -- wrong about the service years. Across the front of the cap: “Korean Veteran -- The Chosin Few.”