A Chance Encounter


From the Road
by Grant Doyle

I’ve been showing groups around DC for um-m-m-m a long time (over 20 years). I’ve experienced some pretty cool things in all that time but the coolest thing just happened on my last tour. I was with the Alachua County Safety Patrols from Gainesville, FL this week. We had eleven buses on tour. Close to 500 people (fifth grade students with their parents and teachers) there from Friday night until Tuesday morning. I was with Lt. Jenkins and Sgt. Cooper from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. We were at the World War II Memorial on Saturday morning. It was the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy. There was a ceremony planned for the WWII veterans Honor Flight setting up. There must have been 200 WWII vets there and another 300 people milling around the memorial. As I approached the memorial I saw a man sitting on a stool surrounded by military personnel. I recognized him as former congressman Bob Dole. I stopped to watch the “goings on”. Then the military personnel stepped away from the Congressman and I saw an opportunity to step in. I stuck out my hand and shook his. I thanked him for his time on Capitol Hill and his military service. Then he looked at me and said, “what about you?” I said, “US Navy 1968-1970” Then he asked me if I had a camera. I wasn’t going to be “that guy” and ask him for a photo op but since he did the asking………… I told him that I did have a camera. He waived to his aide and said, “take our picture”. The congressman was awarded 2 Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a combat “V” for valor during World War II. It was an honor to be standing next to him on that day.


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