Meet the Wonderful “Wings Over Wendy’s” Crew

For the past ten years, a group of military veterans have met each Monday morning to share a bite to eat and swap war stories at a Los Angeles-area Wendy’s fast-food restaurant. Initially starting with just two veterans — both airmen who served in World War II — the “Wings Over Wendy’s” (WOW) crew has grown to include more than 100 veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces.

On a recent Monday, WOW member Jan Begg (pictured, left) shared a poem he had written about his comrades. We heard about it when friend Karen Vegtel sent us the following email describing the scene:

One of the W.W.II veterans who attends the Wings Over Wendy’s meetings wrote a poem about the group.  It is outstanding and I would like to share it with you.

The veteran’s name is Jan Begg. Jan uses a rollator to get around, so he rolled up to the front of the room.  Then he proceeded to read his poem after releasing his grip on the rollator.  It was a struggle for him to stand, unassisted, but he persevered and read in a loud strong voice.

When Jan finished his poem, we clapped and gave him a standing ovation.

Get your tissues ready…Here is Jan’s poem:

“THE MEN WHO MEET AT WENDY’S” by Jan G. Begg


THERE’S A GROUP THAT MEETS AT WENDY’S

TO VISIT DAYS OF YORE
TO REMINISCE AND TELL EACH OTHER
TALES ABOUT “THE WAR”.

THEY COME HERE EVERY MONDAY
MOVING CAUTIOUSLY AND SLOW
BEFORE YOU LAUGH OR CRITICIZE
THERE’S SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW

ONCE, WHEN THEY WERE YOUNGER
THEY CHOSE TO TAKE A STAND
TO OFFER EVERYTHING THEY HAD
TO PROTECT THIS BLESSED LAND

THEY FOUGHT THE GERMAN NAZIS
AND THE JAPS WHO BOMBED OUR FLEET
‘TWAS A LONG — HARD — BRUTAL JOURNEY
ERE WE BROUGHT THEM TO DEFEAT

THESE MEN, NOW OLD AND FRAGILE
DID ALL THAT THEY WERE ASKED
NO MATTER WHAT THE CHALLENGE
THEY WERE EQUAL TO THE TASK

THEY FOUGHT AND BLED AND SUFFERED
THROUGH HISTORY’S CRUELEST WAR
BUT THEY WROTE A SHINING CHAPTER
IN OUR PATRIOTIC LORE

THEY STRUGGLED IN THE HEAVENS,
ON THE OCEAN, IN THE MUD
AND THE FREEDOM THAT SURROUNDS US
WAS PAID FOR WITH THEIR BLOOD

IF YOU LOVE OUR PRECIOUS COUNTRY
WITH ITS DEMOCRATIC LIFE
‘TWAS THESE OLD MEN WHO SAVED IT
IN THAT LONG AND COSTLY STRIFE

YOU’LL NEVER SEE THEM SWAGGER
IT’S NOT THEIR WONT TO BRAG
BUT ONCE, THEY OFFERED UP THEIR LIVES
FOR FREEDOM — GOD — AND FLAG

WHEN OUR NATION NEEDED HEROES
WHEN THE BATTLE FLAGS UNFURLED
THE MEN WHO MEET AT WENDY’S
WENT OUT — AND SAVED THE WORLD!!!!!

Several of these dear veterans are regular volunteers at Operation Gratitude. We are grateful for their brave service to our country and their dedication to support today’s brave warriors.

Read more about the “Wings Over Wendy’s” crew in this wonderful LA Daily News story: Veterans Wing It at West Hills Wendy’s. We are honored to know these men!

(Photos credit: Karen Vegtel — thank you, Karen!)

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation to Veterans, New Recruits, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to say "Thank You" to members of our Military. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than One Million Care Packages.
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7 Responses to Meet the Wonderful “Wings Over Wendy’s” Crew

  1. Shirley Landau says:

    EXCELLENT STORY & POEM!!! OPERATION GRATITUDE IS A BLESSING TO ALL SERVICEMEN/WOMEN AT THIS TIME. CONGRADULATIONS TO ALL OF THEM.
    Shirley Landau

  2. Pingback: Thanking Veterans EVERY Day… | Operation Gratitude Blog

  3. Pingback: Giving Back to Those Who Have Given So Much… | Operation Gratitude Blog

  4. Jesse Smith says:

    I wish I knew which store it was so I could go, sit and listen.

  5. Pingback: Meet the Wonderful “Wings Over Wendy’s” Crew « blogsense-by-barb

  6. Wow, what an incredible poem. Heroes like Mr. Begg are the reason we all live such privileged lives here in America, and more people need to remember that.

  7. This is so wonderful and uplifting especially for a time such as this. We are proud of our daughter Karen Vegtel’s contribution to Wings over Wendy’s as well as Operation Gratitude. Her husband, Jack Vegtel, now deceased was a fighter pilot for the Dutch Airforce and a member of WIngs Over Wendy’s.

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