Picture-Perfect Gift for a War Vet

A stranger's kindness speaks volumes, at this time of year especially

He really doesn’t want recognition for what he did. It was simple and only took him a few minutes and a few bucks — $13.93 to be exact, spent on December 12 at the Boston Store in East Towne Mall in Madison, Wisconsin.

But Mark Munn hopes that by sharing just a few of the simple ways he’s tried to make a difference this holiday season, he might inspire others to do the same.

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Munn wrote this moving post on Facebook recently about one of his encounters:

Yesterday, while out doing some Christmas shopping, I noticed an old man sitting on a bench all alone. I noticed he had a hat with military emblems on it. I saw down next to the man. His name was Herb. I proceeded to ask him about his service. He had fought in Vietnam and had lost most of his platoon, and his brother. I told him how sorry I was and thanked him for his service. Then he went on to tell me how his wife of 45 years had passed from cancer this past year and that he really wasn’t looking forward to Christmas. I teared up a bit at that moment, and all I could do was give this guy a hug. I told him grieving is a long process, but to keep an open mind about the future. You never know what might happen? My grandmother met several people after my grandpa passed away. There’s love everywhere if you look for it.

He said he asked the gentleman if he had time to wait a few minutes while he went to grab something.

Munn came back with a small picture frame with five compartments. He’d had it gift-wrapped with a card that said, “Place the five most important pictures to you within these walls and hang it close to your front door so you can look at it every day and remember. Your friend, Mark.”

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As he left, he looked back — and saw a smile and tears beginning to roll down the gentleman’s face.

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Whether it’s shoveling a neighbor’s driveway, helping a stranger across an icy walk or offering a donation to a family in need this holiday — countless Americans give of themselves, their time, and their resources this Christmas season. These are perhaps the richest gifts any of us might give — or receive.

Small acts of kindness, even a smile or a hello to a stranger, can be touching reminders we’re all in this together — and here for each other at a time when many feel lost and alone.

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