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Harold Kaufman, Dana Point

Former mayor of Dana Point and Air Force Veteran, Harold Kaufman, at the city's Memorial Day service. Photo by Andrea Swayne
Harold Kaufman

After the impressive and moving Memorial Day tribute at Pines Park put on by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a nice-looking middle-aged woman in a red, white and blue blouse approached me, handed me a folded piece of paper and said, “Thank you for your service.”

That day I was wearing my Air Force hat and my Patriot Guard motorcycle vest. I told her that it was my honor to serve, and I took the piece of paper but didn’t look at it until later in the day because as I returned to my motorcycle, I discovered that it had a dead battery.

Tossing the folded piece of paper in my trunk—and with the help of a young Camp Pendleton marine and a jumper cable from Councilman Bill Brough—we jump-started my bike, and I took off to meet my buddies for a pre-planned Memorial Day ride.

It was not until I arrived home later that afternoon that I remembered the piece of paper. I unfolded it and read:

“To One Who Has Served Our Country,

Many Americans want you to know that we think of all of you and the sacrifices that you and your families have made or are making. ‘Most people spend their lives wondering if they have made a difference. Those who have served have little doubt.’ I have no doubt that your efforts provided countless people around the world and me with the opportunity for a quality life.

I know that that quality of life would not be possible without you and those who served with you and those who served before you and those that will serve after you. For you who were not welcomed home with the respect that you deserve, ‘Welcome home, soldier!’

With sincere appreciation for your service to our country,

A grateful citizen of the United States of America.”

Taped to the bottom of this letter was a $20 bill and written just below was, “Please treat yourself to a small indulgence as a thank you from me.”

With eyes welling with tears, I have to say I was blown away. So, to the beautiful woman who paid forward this gift of patriotism:

I am sorry I don’t know your name, but I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate your amazing gesture. And my plan for “indulging” myself will be to add some money to your gift and donate it to the Dana Point 5th Marine Support Group for their new program to help returning soldiers transition into civilian life.

I thank you for your kindness. I thank you for your respect. I thank you for your thoughtfulness. And I thank you for your American spirit. I am so grateful, and am so very humbled.

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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (1)

  • George Vreeland Hill Reply

    Great letter.
    We all owe a big thanks to those who served and are serving this great nation.
    After all, we are free because of their sacrifices.

    George Vreeland Hill

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