Showing Some Gratitude *Open Thread*


Time for a little mental health break from all of the insanity that’s going on. I mean, hey – President Obama and his family are hanging out in the Florida Keys, and Vice President Biden and his wife are down in the US Virgin Islands, so why should WE worry about anything, right? Ahem.

But this story goes beyond politics. This is about gratitude. It took place in San Jose, and is a good reminder of showing gratitude, appreciating those who serve, as well as just showing the decency of people. Now to the story:

Everyone on the block knows Joe Bell. Whether he’s tinkering with his old fishing boat in the driveway or telling World War II stories from the sidewalk, neighbors always stop to chat.

Once in a while he dons his uniform, which still fits his thin, 95-year-old frame, and wears it to the senior center for lunch on Veterans Day or to meet with other vets.

When he put it on again Sunday morning, something spectacular happened. Joe stepped outside his Cape Cod-style house in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood to cheer on runners in a race that benefits the foundation for fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman. One by one, the runners left the course to shake an old soldier’s hand.

I have to pause for a moment. Wow, what an experience that must have been for Bell and the runners. Fortunately, Bell’s neighbor, Julia Prodis Sulek, captured all of this and wrote this story. Clearly, it was a moving experience for her, too, as she writes below :

[…] It started so simply. As Joe stood a bit stooped on the sidewalk waving and cheering, the runners started waving and cheering back. When one of them saluted, Joe saluted back.

“Go get ’em,” he called out.

I started filming. Then one of the runners, a young man in a red shirt, ran onto the sidewalk and, mid-stride, shook Joe’s hand.

“Thank you for your service,” he said, panting, then jogged on.

Another runner followed, then another and another. They began to pile up. For a moment, I worried Joe might get knocked over.

But as I recorded, I couldn’t help but get choked up to see this sweet old man, beloved by his neighbors, receiving a parade of tributes from strangers. It was especially poignant coming during a benefit for Tillman, a San Jose native who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Tillman had given up an NFL career to join the Army after 9/11.

Joe looked surprised, almost overwhelmed.

“I never got recognition in my life,” he told me on Tuesday, as TV camera crews lined up at his door to tell the story of the former Army corporal who trained paratroopers from Italy to Africa for the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services that preceded the CIA. “I was a jumper in the OSS. That’s all.”[…] (Click here to read the rest.)

How amazing that must have been for the WWII veteran as he stood out there to cheer on the runners. The tables turned, and they, in their way, cheered HIM. Below is the video capturing the moment:

What a touching, powerful moment this must have been for everyone involved, from Joe Bell to the runners to the reporter. And it serves as a good reminder of the power of a little gratitude, whether in thanking a veteran or active military person for their service to this great Country, to appreciating the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, to thanking someone for a job well done, to being thankful for one’s life on this planet, a little gratitude can go a long way.

And so today, let’s take some time to reflect on those things for which we are grateful, and maybe share that gratitude with others. I’ll leave you with this beautiful piece with Loreena McKennitt:

This is an Open Thread, so feel free to talk about whatever you want.


13 Responses to “Showing Some Gratitude *Open Thread*”

  1. foxyladi14 Says:

    Good Morning Amy great post.
    I had to share this funny.
    And I love this MOM!!! πŸ˜†

  2. insanitybytes22 Says:

    “Time for a little mental health break from all of the insanity that’s going on….”

    LOL, nah, just embrace the crazy. I have.

    Anne Coulter of all crazy people, gave me a mental health break. Talking about future elections she said, “I just don’t picture women fainting at Joe Biden rallies.” I don’t know why this cracked me up, but I think that we’ve really hit the pinnacle of charisma with President Obama and that’s a good thing. From here on out, we’ll have more sanity, I hope.

    I’m also amusing myself this Sunday morning with all the biblical admonishments to not faint. Probably not a reference to political rallies, but it fits.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      LOL – good point there, insanity! πŸ™‚

      Oh, my – that is quite the image, isn’t it? People screaming and fainting at a Biden rally? The screaming I can see – at his stupidity. Fainting? Probably more like laughing at his inane comments.

      But yeah – let’s hope this is the height of voting for people based on nothing more than a good PR team…

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

    The story about 95 year old vet Joe Bell warms the heart. I confess to tears in my eyes. With so much that is wrong/bad/evil/corrupt and dishonest in this country it is so gratifying to read of some of the good. Bless those runners. And thank you Joe Bell for your service. Then and now!

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      You said it, Marge. It made me teary eyed, too. It was already an impressive event since it was being done in Pat Tillman’s honor, but to see those runners come over to Bell really warmed my heart. And it says a lot that he was wearing his uniform, too. Thanks to him, and to all who have put on a uniform in service to our country.

  4. foxyladi14 Says:

    For sure Amy. And what a difference from these people. πŸ™„

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      That ‘toon is SPOT on. That is exactly what happened. Lerner, who has made a good bit of money on our tax dollars, is getting away scot-free from having to admit what she did, and who told her to do it. Meanwhile, Cummings rants and raves giving her cover, and somehow HE comes out the victim. Just astounding…

  5. helenk3 Says:

    never forget

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      What an incredibly beautiful love story this is. Frustrating that it took SO long for this woman to find out what happened to her husband, but in the end, what a beautiful story…

    • foxyladi14 Says:

      Beautiful thanks Helen. πŸ™‚

  6. sassyminor Says:

    Bless Joe Bell and all those who served this country in any capacity. Their stories bring tears to my eyes and fill my heart with gratitude.
    Recent events in Ukraine are a sobering reminder of the ease in which dictators have stolen freedom from millions of people during my lifetime. North Korea, East Germany, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, and so many other places across the globe.
    Americans don’t expect perfection from leaders, but still believe our country stands for basic tenets of self-determination, in a global environment that makes isolationism impossible.

  7. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    A Facebok friend had the following link to a commentary written by Sec. Condoleeza Rice, with the quip that is it understandable why a place like Rutgers wouldn’t want her to speak there. Ahem.

    Here’s the WaPo piece:

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