Tuesday, September 27, 2011


A few years ago while we were in Washington DC we visited the World War II memorial.  The first time we saw it was about midnight.  We were the only ones present.  The concrete pillars surrounding it set it apart, while the water fountain spilled in the lighted center.  It was beautiful.  The next morning we went to see the memorial early.  The water fountain was still spilling in the center of the memorial.  But this time there were dozens of World War II veterans milling, pondering, and visiting.  The memorial was three times as beautiful as it was the night before.  It was evident that it was the blood of the milling veterans that provided life to the monument, not the water fountain. 

Two men, veterans, were sitting on the bench visiting.  They were picture postcard perfect. 

I asked them if I could take their picture and promised to e-mail the man on the right a copy of it.  After I thanked them for serving our country, George, the man on the right said, “We’d fight for you any day.”  He might as well have winked and tipped his hat in my direction. 

The man on the left mumbled to his buddy after I’d left, “you’ll never see that picture.”  But George bet a dinner that he would. 

George and I have been corresponding ever since I sent him that first picture.  After all, he made a bet on my honor and I won him a dinner.  You keep friends like that.  A couple of weeks ago I sent George an e-mail full of World War II era pictures that I thought he’d appreciate.   Here’s one of them:

Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room,
Chicago and Northwest Railway Company.  ClintonIowa, April 1943.  Reproduction from
Color slide.  Photo by Jack Delano.  Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

George responded, requested more e-mails, and told me about his upcoming 61st anniversary and Old North State's recent win. 

It’s a little thing, offering to take a picture and send it, but I have done it for others since meeting George, and the pleasure has been all mine because of the people I've met in the process.  


Charity said...

It's interesting how the opportunities for sharing the gospel are as simple as sharing a photo.

Michelle said...

Awesome! You know, if you want to visit there again, you've got a place to stay. ;-)

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

I agree with Charity. That is exactly what I thought of. How you showed, in such a simple way, the love that Christ has for him.

Deidra said...

The WWII memorial is my favorite. And I get to see it again in a few weeks. Hooray!

I love this story, and I love that you've kept in touch. It's amazing how people make our lives sweet.

Cali said...

I cannot get enough of those pictures. Hands down THE BEST forward I've ever gotten (maybe tied with the cute kitten forwards :) ). Maybe over exuberance isn't so bad after all...

Anonymous said...

Great picture. I'll use it in my safety presentation on bloodborne pathogens and infectious diseases. Lunch in a restroom? We've come a long way baby.


Samantha said...

I love that story.

Rachel said...

What a fun way to make friends and memories. :) I love that memorial too. It is by far the prettiest one at night. I don't know if you knew this, but it's also a fun one to visit when you can go with your niece.

michelle said...

You, Jane Payne, are adorable. And so is George.

Susan Walker said...

That is so amazing! Clearly the gentleman on the left didn't realize who they were dealing with. ;-)

My dad was a WWII vet...he served on a mine sweep and was 5 miles off the coast of Nagasaki when they dropped the atomic bomb. When he died of oat cell cancer (a cancer caused by radiation) at the age of 70, we attributed it to his exposure.

I have a soft spot in my heart for WWII vets. I hope to see the memorial in person someday.