Someone was knocking at the door. The sun was almost over the horizon. The soup was simmering on the stove and the coffee pot was just finishing a fresh pot. The knocking was persistant. Omar rolled his wheel chair across the room and opened the door a crack. In the dim hallway stood a young gal with a tea kettle and two dirty faced little guys. The tiny little gal stepped forward and asked may we borrow a little water? Our water hasn’t been turned on yet and we need to wash up before the boys go to bed.”
The little gal reminded Omar of his own daughter and her two little guys that were now grown men. She had that fire of determination in her eyes. Omar’s heart was touched. “Little lady go get some clean clothes for the boys and yourself. Take your baths here. I’m a Grandpa that lives too far away to help my little folks so I will help you.” The little gal’s eyes light up like Christmas morning and the Fourth of July combined.
When “Bright Eyes” returned Omar instructed her to bathe the boys and then lock yourself in the bathroom and enjoy a soak while I get acquainted with my new best friends. When Bright Eyes had finished her bath she found the boys were seated at the table and eating some soup. Omar explained “I had too much soup and the boys said they would help me out. Will you help too? There is a fresh loaf of cinnamon bread with honey buter.
Over soup Omar learned they were in town to meet Husband/Dad, David when he returned from Iraq. He had lost both legs but was doing fine. Charley the smallest one told Omar “My Dad’s a Marine. They can win a fight with anyone.” Omar looked at the boys and declared “You fellas gotta help me with one more thing. I have some chocolate ice cream that will spoil if someone doesn’t eat it soon. Will you eat it for me?”
Over coffee Bright Eyes told me the problems of a military wife with no job and no money. The landlord had promised water and gas turned on today but had failed to fulfill his promises. Bright yes had begun to cry. I saw you wheel yourself to the laundry room and return with you clothes. I assumed any man that folds his clothes like you did was ex military and could be trusted. Omar looked into her tear filled eyes and said “Semper Fi, Marine wife!”
Over the next few month’s the boys adopted Omar as their Marine Grandpa. Charley was the inquisitive one but Chad was the one bold enough to ask the questions. The soup pot was always too full and they would help out emptying it into their tiny bellies. They called it Marine food. The day came when they were bold enough to ask Omar about his legs.
Omar knew this day was coming. Omar had been through the questions with his own grandchildren. He told the boys to sit down and have some of the “almost spoiled” chocolate ice cream that was always in his freezer. He began his story like most stories “A long time ago… I was in a place called Vietnam. My platoon had uncovered a small group of orphans and we Marines were trying to get them to safety. I had a child on each hip and one on my back as I waded through the swamp. I handed my kids up to my Master Sergeant and began to crawl from the swamp when all Hell broke loose. The children were safe but I took a grenade hit in the legs. I was lucky to have my life but I lost my legs.”
Bright Eyes was knocking at the door. Omar let her in and saw the excitement in her eyes. She was followed by two Marines in full dress uniform. They looked @ Omar and asked “Are you Lieutenant Omar O’Malley?” Omar’s back stiffened when he replied “Yes Sir!” The marines came to attention saluting with precision. “Sir, your presence is requested by the President of the USA. 1300 hours Tuesday, in uniform.” Omar was in shock. He told the men “At Ease! Get some coffee and we will talk.”
The Marines told Omar the Corps had been looking for him for some time. He had never been awarded his medals. “Two of the orphans you saved that day came forward to thank you and now the President has ordered us to find you and if necessary drag you Marine Butt to the White House. Do you have a uniform?” Omar said no and the men went into action. Two phone calls and the uniform with all decoration arrived.
When Charley and Chad asked which medal Omar would be receiving the Marines replied “A second Purple Heart, a Silver Star, and the Medal of Honor.” Omar hearing this looked @ Bright Eyes and asked “What have you been up to girl?”
Bright eyes took Omar’s face in her hands “From one Marine to another…Semper Fi! I was a 2nd Lieutenant until I met David. I retired to have children and he continued on his career path. Today he is a Lieutenant Colonel. Y’all know when the Colonel speaks Marines jump…. well sometimes Presidents do too. David shared my letter to him with the President when he came to visit the wounded. The next day DR Phulyn and his wife contacted the President trying to find you. They were two of the kids you carried through the swamp. The message they sent was “I was told if I needed help to dial O for O’Malley! Mr President please help us find O’Malley.” Bright Eyes took a deep breath and added “Isn’t that the same message you’ve been giving the boys and I?”
Just then the ancient phone on the kitchen wall rang. Omar answered with his customary O’Malley here. Omar’s face went white. His replies were all “Yes Sir” When he finished his conversation he hung up and turned to Bright Eyes. “Will you escort an old man to the White House? The President just said he’s dialing O for O’Malley?”
That day arrived and the Oval Office was crowded with dignitaries trying to impress O’Malley. Omar’s biggest surprise was all his family arrived vis Marine One compliments of the Presidential orders. They escorted him into the Rose Garden. The Master Sergeant barked “Attention!” The ceremony was Marine perfect. The Dr and Mrs Phulyn enhanced the Presidents many accolades.
The after ceremony reception had just began when a shot rang out. One of the caterers had made the mistake of pointing a gun at the President when he was standing next to a wheel chair bound O’Malley. The terrorist was now under the wheel chair and O’Malley’s dead body. Semper Fi!!!