An aged veteran and his elderly bride were lunching in a Wendy's one day. He was wearing a cap with the insignia of his unit. I asked his wife whether he was a World War II veteran, and when she said yes, I said, "Would you please tell him thanks and give him this for me?" and gave her a hug.
At a concession stand, with my twentysomething kids alongside, I anonymously bought the Marine behind us his iced tea and granola bar — and I got a hug from my vehemently antiwar son!
I've hugged our Vietnam vet postman, a lovely female Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv, and Operation Iraqi Freedom soldiers in the airport. I plan to continue doing so, at least until someone says, "Ewwww! Quit that!"
I don't know if they feel honored, but I hope they feel appreciated!
The AARP Bulletin's "What I Really Know" column comes from our readers. Each month we solicit short personal essays on a selected topic and post some of our favorites in print and online. Michele Bartlett is a reader from Littleton, Co.