Dear Editor, we had to go to Salt Lake City on family business, and drove my truck, a new Dodge Ram which has an American flag on the hood and on the license plate. In front, I have a picture of a PBR in a firefight in Nam. On the back license plate I have a Purple Heart tag, and on the back camper window another large picture of a PBR. There are two magnetic Purple Heart signs on the doors. So when you look at our truck you definitely know it is military. Also, you will never see me without some type of clothing affiliated with the military.
We started out on the trip and I can’t believe how many thumbs up and salutes we got from passing drivers. Every time we pulled into a truck stop or restaurant, veterans and civilians would ask questions about the vehicles. Sometimes it was hard to get away from talking to veterans about the VA. We pulled into an Indiana Welcome Center and one lady was taking a picture of two other ladies under the Indiana sign. I told her that I would take their picture if they would take ours and she agreed. So after taking her picture under the sign, she saw my truck and asked if I was a veteran. I told her yes ma’am, and she thanked me for my service. She saw my Purple Heart shirt and she asked if you and your wife Judy would join hands and let me say a prayer for you all veterans and Purple Heart recipients. So it was really moving for five strangers joining hands in the Indiana Welcome Center as she said a prayer.
My wife and I stop at all Goodwills and a lady came up and asked if we were going to be there a little while? I told her that it all depended on my wife. She said she was going out to her car and would be right back because she wanted to give me something. It was a coffee mug and on it was painted an American flag and a note that said, “Thank you, veterans”. She said that her 12-year-old son was in Boy Scouts and made these to give to veterans and has been for two years. I can’t imagine a 12-year-old boy doing that for two years. She said that she wished he had been with her because he sure would have liked to talk to me. We left and went on to the next Goodwill and we got a lot of thank you‘s, thumbs up, salutes and talking about the VA.
Somewhere in Nebraska we stopped at an O’Charley’s for dinner and I asked the waiter for the bill. She said there was a couple that saw my Purple Heart cap and had already left but paid the bill. They told me to give you this card. I looked at the card and it said – “Welcome Home Big Brother, From Little Sis”. The name on the card was Monica Harvey out of Stapleton, NE. It was a real humbling experience. As we were leaving another couple came up to us and said thank you for your service and if it weren’t for the military we would have no freedom. They asked the waiter to pay for our meal, but were told somebody had already paid. As we shook hands he placed a $50 bill in my hand. I tried to give it back to him but he said no way. I told him how Judy and I help veterans in need and that we would add some money to that and it will go towards veterans in need. As we went on this trip, so many people came up and thanked us. We thought that we were so blessed because we heard from middle America and the silent majority. God bless all our veterans.
David Taylor, Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 638
Judy Taylor, President of Unit 638