In recognition of Veterans Day, I share with you a special passage from my book 'On the Back Burner.'
Written by Lee Stoerzinger, CFP®
One day, three young boys were walking along the lake, just south of town. As they approached the old fishing dock, they noticed a paper sack. Upon closer examination, they saw that it was filled with money. The boys’ hearts raced with emotion. After much argument, they decided to turn it in. If no one claimed it, then they would keep it.
As they returned to town, they ran into a homeless man. “Old man Tucker” they called him. He had never been right since his return from Vietnam, and had always lived outside, even in the winter. The children in town were warned to stay away from him. He approached and said hello. They nodded, somewhat fearfully. He proceeded to tell them about his life, and how he had watched them grow up. He said he’d been born in their small town, and that he knew that most of the adults were afraid of him. He said he knew he didn’t look good, but he hoped they could be friends. Just then, he reached into his pocked and pulled out a star-shaped gold medal with a red, white, and blue ribbon. He said that this was the first time in years that anyone had listened to him, and he wanted the young boys to have it. He thanks them for their time and went on his way.
That afternoon, one of the boys told the story of the money and the man to his dad, who immediately recognized it as the Silver Star because his own father had earned one in World War II. He explained that Old man Tucker had earned it for gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States. The boys were mesmerized. As they walked outside to further admire the medal, the father yelled out, “Hey, what about this money?” One of the boys simply said, with little interest, “Let us know if anyone claims it.”
A few weeks later, after learning much more war history, the boys ran into that old homeless man. As he approached and said hello, they boys again froze. And then, hesitantly, one of them stepped forward and said, “Sir, welcome home.”