I passed a distinguished older gentleman on the subway today, wearing three military decorations on his lapel. my daughter Ella and I took the open seats behind him, while I worked up the nerve to speak with him.
I’m at an age where I find my heroes quickly disappearing — those who braved the Second World War, those who took mankind to the moon, and those who braved the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s. I knew if I did not speak to this man, it would gnaw at me for years.
“Excuse me sir, may I ask you about your medals?”
“Where are these medals from?”
“From a war,” he said. He did not speak English well.
“May I take your photograph?”
He made an open handed gesture, as if to say, “But of course.”
I thanked him, and when I got home, I tried to identify the medals on his chest. I believe them to be:
|Krzyż Walecznych||Krzyż Armii
Cross of Valor
Home Army Cross
Today, I met a hero of the Polish resistance.