Every once in a while, if you're really lucky, you get the chance to meet someone special. Today was that day for me and Lu. Let me preface this by saying that I've met celebrities before. Mostly it's been Meh. The only exception was when I met Evel Knievel. Until today. Today I met Samuel Tom Holiday at a local restaurant.Who is Samuel Tom Holiday?
He was sitting at the next table with a woman I believe is his daughter. He was wearing a Marine Corps cap with Navajo Code Talker printed on the brim. I was stunned. I watched and waited until they were done with their meal and getting up to leave. Then, with a certain amount of trepidation, I approached him and introduced myself (I'd have paid for that meal but they were already in the settling up phase when we sat down). I asked him if he was an actual code talker and he confirmed that he was and gave me the above business card. All I could get out was "Thank you Sir" and "It's an honor to meet you" while shaking his hand. He actually made the rounds of the restaurant afterward, talking to folks and shaking more hands. I've still got a huge smile plastered on my face from the encounter.
Go here and take a look at his website. It's fascinating. There were only ever 280 Navajo Code Talkers and there can't be more than a bare handful left. Soon, all to soon, they will be gone forever. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and for this veteran and admirer of the honorable it was one of the highlights of my life.
Thank you Mister Holiday for your valorous service and your kindness to an awestruck fanboy. I will remember you always. It may not be acceptable to give a 'Semper Fi!' from an old Soldier but I'm going to do it anyway and extend it to you on behalf of every Marine who will never get the chance I got. You and your brothers will never be forgotten.