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