I spent most of yesterday (July 4th) driving around Texarkana looking for people doing fun things to celebrate the holiday. This initially proved rather difficult considering most of the cool stuff (sparklers, bottle rockets, and actual fireworks) usually isn’t done until after dark.
My favorite part of the day though was meeting Jack Shannon, the vietnam veteran on the middle left of the spread.
What really caught my eye was his USA hat. I had driven past him earlier in the afternoon and I just kept thinking about him. So I went back hoping he would still be there.
After getting him and his friend some water (it was super hot outside) I sat down with them for a little chat. The first thing I asked was if he wore that hat everyday. He told me to check out how dirty it was and to ask him that again. Point taken.
When I asked Jack how he felt, being that he was a veteran and homeless, he sat there and starred at me for a little while. Almost as if he was scared to answer honestly. He nodded hesitantly and then whispered, “It’s lonely.”
He waved his hand to signify he didn’t want to talk about it anymore as he held back tears in his eyes. I quickly re-directed the conversation and thanked him for his service and for his part in keeping our country free. His response?
“You know nobody wants to live like this. None of us want to be out here.”
Later in the conversation I was happy to hear that someone else had stopped by and offered to bring them some celebration left overs. The two perked up when they spoke of how nice it was that someone cared enough to share with them.
After about 20 minuets with the fellas I went back on my search for celebration shots. Before I left I thanked them again for letting me chat with them and thanked Jack again for his service. We shook hands and I left.