letter from one of YellowAirplane's readers
Ann Margaret and the VET
This story was added 2-25-03 and was submitted by Phil Sisson
You may enjoy reading this story ...
attached is a copy of the story about a Viet Nam vet and Ann Margaret as
told by the vet's wife.
Richard, (my husband), never really
talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam other than he had been shot by
a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8x10 black &white
photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margaret with Bob Hope in
the background that was one of his treasures. A few years ago, Ann Margaret
was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if
he could get her to sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore
at 12 o'clock for the 7:30 signing.
When I got there after work, the line
went all the way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot, and disappeared
behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore, employees announced
that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.
Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her
know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far
from home. Ann Margaret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as 2nd
in line, it was soon Richard's turn. He presented the book for her
signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts
from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, "I understand.
I just wanted her to see it." She took one look at the photo, tears
welled up in her eyes and she said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet
Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did
for their country and I always have time for "my gentlemen." With
that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him.
She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she
met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated
them. There weren't too many dry eyes among those close enough to
hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he was the only
one there. Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I
asked if he'd like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in
tears. "That's the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time
in the Army," he said. That night was a turning point for him.
He walked a little straighter and, for
the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll never forget
Ann Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small act
of kindness meant to my husband. I now make it a point to say Thank You
to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does
not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have
served their country. If you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to
do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important
it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make. With global
circulation... this may reach Jane Fonda.