RESPECT & HONOR by Gabe Michel
The noise was getting louder and louder, I couldn’t sleep anymore. It was past four in the morning.
I put on my old jacket, took my bike and got on the first road that I found with no destination in mind. I rode by instinct, as if the path was already traced for me. The weather was perfect for November, not too cold. Just perfect for a weekend on the road!
After a few miles the sky started its own battle against the darkness. The mountains outlined against the bright orange sky. To the distance, the twinkling lights from a small town showed me the path to follow. The lights were sparse, almost unrecognizable. As I was getting closer, the lights vanished with the daylight. The place brought me flash memories. I was sure I had been here before, everything looked familiar, but I couldn’t recognize it.
The little town was preparing for the veteran’s day with stars and stripes ribbons displayed all over. Our nation was commemorating the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, that signaled the end of WWI and the veterans of all wars. A sense of liberty, pride, and love for my country embraced me as I sat in a bench right next to a gray monument at the main little square. I closed my eyes and doze for a while.
I felt a presence that made me open my eyes. I saw an old man looking straight at my jacket. His beard was long and was as gray as his hair. There he stood with the help of a cane, wearing a uniform and an old leather jacket similar to mine. He tapped me with his cane and proceeded to open one of my jacket flaps, as if he wanted to confirm what he already knew.
-That´s an original A2 flight jacket- he said, then took a deep breath and continued -I was twenty-two when I got mine. I can say it saved my life on those bloody French beaches of Normandy. I Hope whoever was wearing yours was as lucky as I was… many did not come back home alive-
The old man had a hard time standing still but he went on and he told me in a deep and serious voice:
-Son, wear that old jacket with respect because for someone it meant sacrifice and honor-
Then he slowly walked away. I sat there speechless thinking of my father. Then I left