The other day while working, I went in the exam room to see an old gentleman. He was wearing a cap that said, "WW2 Veteran". I asked him immediately about his service. His 90 year old body was old, tired and sick, but his mind was sharp and his eyes brightened when he told me of his time in the U.S. Navy in the great war. I could tell he was thrilled that I thought enough to ask.
He explained that he was a sailor and was assigned to a DE (Destroyer Escort). These were small ships which were assigned to protect convoys of mainly merchant ships as they traversed submarine infested waters in route to our allies in need of food, medicine, war materials, and other crucial supplies.
He also let me know that he saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific and was especially proud of the fact that his ship was instrumental in the sinking of a German U-boat just off the New England coast.
I thanked him for his service and he was proud to have served with distinction as he should have been. They are a dying breed and pretty soon all of the World War 2 vets will be gone. We owe them so much. It doesn't take but just a few moments to thank these folks for their service and listen to their story if they have one to tell. We were both smiling that evening.