stories of domestic courage

Susan Rojas suerojas at MINDSPRING.COM
Sun Dec 16 08:12:47 MST 2001

This story was passed on to me by a friend. I don't know if it's true, but
it's heartwarming and I think it will warm yours too.

I think these types of stories need to be passed on......Keep the Flag
A  heartening story from a Colonel out at Hanscom AFB.

I arrived in Moscow, Idaho (Home of Idaho University one block from Best
Western) and went to dinner at Best Western.  About 85-100 people were in
the Restaurant. I'm at a table for about 5 minutes when this "Group" comes
in (20 people). They have Anti-War Picket Signs with them. It appears that
two of these demonstrators are Professors.  They all sit at a large round
table behind me and begin to talk very loudly about US atrocities in
Afghanistan. One of the "Professors" stands up and gives a brief talk about
how the "US is famous for atrocities" and Afghanistan will be no different.
One of the students asked a question about Vietnam POW's. The "Professor"
makes a comment about how that was only US propaganda about poor treatment
of POW's.

OK - I'm really mad now and I jump up and go over to their table.

(In retrospect - Over the entrance to the Restaurant is a huge American
Flag. On each table is an American Flag and a small hand painted sign
"United We Stand").

I excuse myself and ask the Professor if I can ask him a question.  He says
yes. I said that he appears to be of age to have served in Viet Nam, and
asked him if he had served.  His answer was, "NO - I defended this Campus
and told the truth to the students. I then asked if he remembered what he
was doing on February 16, 1969. When he answered, "Of course not - that was
too long ago," I responded, "Really, I remember what I was doing. That was
the second day of my capture and I had been standing in a bamboo cage for 24
hours with water up to my chest". I then said "Sir, your comments about how
POW's in Nam were treated are a lie and I personally say to you, you are a
liar, as you never were there. I was a POW and they did not treat our POWs
humanly.  The only other person I have ever heard make the statements like
you have is Jane Fonda. Is she telling the truth and not me?"

He stood up and after about 10 seconds said, "Jane is a great patriot and I
cannot visualize her lying."  With that, I reached over and grabbed the
small American Flag and United We Stand sign and said, "I'm taking this back
to my table where it can be appreciated". No one said a word to me as I
started to walk back.

However after a few seconds, people started standing up and applauding all
around the restaurant. Two men got up from a table across the room and
walked over to me. The first identified himself as former US Marine
Lieutenant Flynn and the other man was former Gunnery Sergeant Graboski. In
a loud voice after introducing themselves, Lt. Flynn said they were former
Marine Guards at a US Embassy. He then said, "We are over at this table to
defend the US Flag from all foes, both foreign and domestic."  They then sat
down and asked their Waitress to bring their meals over to my table. A few
more minutes went by with loud comments from the "Anti-War" table.

All of a sudden, "Gunny" Sergeant Graboski stood up and in a loud voice said
"All of you heard what the President said the other night. You are either
with the United States or you are with the terrorists." He then said,
"Please stand and join me in God Bless America." As he started singing,
people all around the restaurant stood up and joined in.  Several of the
students at the "Anti-War" table also stood up half way through the song and
joined in. Both Professors and the majority of the students remained seated
and refused to sing. At the end there was a great ovation.  The Manager came
up to my table. (He and his staff came out from the kitchen and sang). He
thanked me for what I started and then went over to the Anti-War table and
asked them to leave. "I will pay for what you have had so far but I cannot
in good conscience serve you - get out now!!

One of the Professors then made a remark "Well, we are not going to pay one
dime for how shabbily we have been treated."  As they were leaving, one
customer stood up and said, "Manager, here is $5 towards their bill, anyone
else willing to chip in to get this scum out of here?"  All over the
restaurant, people stood up reaching for their wallet and saying, "I'll chip
in"  The Manager, in tears said, "My family is from Poland, I am now a
citizen and am so proud of what I see tonight." He started crying and a
couple of the waitresses helped him into the kitchen.  The two Marines and I
were there for about another 20 minutes and finished our meal. The Hostess
came up and showed us more than $100 dollars that all the other tables had
told their Waitresses to give towards our bill. I thanked her but said I
could not take the money. Lt. Flynn suggested donating it in the
Restaurant's name to the New York Relief Fund, so I guess that's what will
happen.  I just can't believe how Americans are coming together now.

Just thought you would like to hear how the rest of the country is reacting
to what happened!!!

David A. Handle, Colonel,
USAF Deputy Director,
DII-Air Force
Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-2100
DSN 478-2772/Comm 781-377-2772

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