My friend Lisa talked to Joe for about 30 minutes while I walked around taking pictures and talking to others. I asked her if she had some words to share about speaking with him, this is what she shared with me:
Joe S. is one of the most amazing men I have ever met in my life. Talking to him for 30 minutes made more of an impact on me than some of my longest childhood friendships have. Joe is an amazing man who has seen more in his life than I could ever have imagined. You know those history classes you take when you’re younger… learning about horse and buggies and the “I had to walk uphill both ways, in the middle of a snowstorm, to get to and from the store”? Well, Joe was this man. The reason I met him is because he was among the brave men who served in World War II and was visiting the World War II Memorial from Syracuse, NY. No government shutdown was going to stop these amazing individuals from seeing their Memorial. The only thing he told me about his experience was that the service gave him a completely new outlook on life and the world. We mostly shared personal stories and life advice on why he couldn’t understand why DC boys didn’t date nice girls who can hold a conversation….take notes, boys. It was incredible to hear how he experienced the change in technology—he used to get around with horse and buggies and planes only existed to go overseas for military purposes. He was so thankful that he could take a short hour flight to DC to see The Memorial, and be back in NY later that day. He also told me about his beautiful wife whom he lost earlier this year, after a loving 66 years of marriage. The twinkle in his eye when he spoke of her is one that you only hear about in fairytales. It’s sweet to know that kind of love exists. I hope that if and when I reach his age, of 89 years old, I will have lovely daughters like he does, have great memories of a spouse of 66 years, have explored the world and experience history and be able to see the changes in society over the years. This man was a walking history book and I am so thankful to have met him. He is truly an American Hero, in more ways than one.
Honor Flight Syracuse // October 5, 2013