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Viva Stories: The Wounded Warrior

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, I popped into Viva to grab a drink.

In walked an older gentleman, wearing a “Wounded Warrior” hat. His eyes, radiating both pain and pride, told me he had stories to tell, so I got up and shook his hand.

We spent about 10 minutes talking, and I learned he had served in Vietnam. He didn’t completely understand what the war was about, only that he wanted to serve his country. He described the hostile reception he and his fellow soldiers received when they returned, and how poorly the government treated him over the years as he worked various jobs to get by while raising kids; now that he has grandkids, he’s deeply concerned about the future of the country they will inherit.

I got a little choked up when he told me that ever since he heard the story of our struggle against tyranny and corruption, he’s made it a point to stop into Viva every Sunday after church, just to support us. He thanked me (me?!) for continuing to stand. I can tell you, that is immensely humbling, knowing I and our family have endured so little compared to him! It gave me perspective on having lost my job in October and the challenge of keeping a small business open. It’s not easy, but it’s still a small price to pay for freedom.

As we left, he opened the saddlebags on his motorcycle and handed me three copies of the Constitution, in the careful manner of a priest handling a sacred text.

This man, after all he’s been through, still loves his country—not because of political ideology, but because he holds individual Freedom and Justice sacred. For him, buying a cup at our little coffee shop each week is an act of service to the American Dream. Words fail me to express what that small act means to us…It’s been a tough year for us, but people like Art keep us going and remind us our tenacity to stay open is about more than coffee and pastries. Art honors us every Sunday…and we honor him by continuing to fight for the same values he did! God bless Art and God bless America! #VivaFreedom

P.S. Art had ordered my own personal favorite, the “Killer Bee” latte. 😉

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