Flag Day Heroes

George & JoeOne of the fun things about traveling is meeting new people. On our recent cruise around the British Isles, we shared our dining experience each night with a pair of nonagenarians–George and Joe. They’ve been best friends since high school. They were the best man at each other’s weddings and must have tied the knots tightly. Joe and his wife celebrated 60 years of marriage. George and his sweetheart were together for 65. They are both widowers now, but it takes a special kind of lover to romance the same woman that long. Now that their wives are gone, they still travel together.

They also both served their country with distinction during World War II. George was a  pilot in the South Pacific. Joe fought in Europe and was a POW in Germany for a time. After his terrible experience, it was a surprise to learn that he married a German girl.

Joe and his wife met in the US after the war while she was an exchange student in college. Both their families said it would never last. Even now, he was hard-pressed to talk about her without his eyes glistening with unshed tears.

That kind of long-term commitment moves me. It speaks to the longing we all have for someone–just one–to accept all that we are and love us unreservedly. It’s the epitome of romance. It also shows that former enemies can become the dearest of all through the transforming power of love.

Happy Flag Day to George & Joe as well as all our veterans and active service members and their families. I appreciate you and your sacrifice so very much.

2 thoughts on “Flag Day Heroes

  1. Marcy W says:

    Wonderful story, Mia, thanks for sharing it. In addition to the long and happy lives these heroes have enjoyed — and I believe that their service in WWII had a lot to do with that — I am struck by your luck in meeting them. There are so few of these amazing men still living (let alone traveling the world) that there must be a reason for your meeting. I’m wondering if someday you’ll write a book set in the 20th century!?? Or use their courage and spirit as inspiration for a hero in one of your stories. Happy Flag Day, indeed :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      They were a total delight and such an inspiring example for so many things–including leading active and productive lives at 93 & 92. Joe beat George down to the dining room one evening and quipped, “I seem to have misplaced my elderly friend!”

      I’d love to write a historical set in the 20th century, but so far, the market is resistant. But I never say never. We’ll see what happens.

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