Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019 at 8:15 am by LaLonde Jewelers
In 1968 I was 15 years old just entering High School. A lot was going on in the world and it seemed like I was sheltered from all the outside influences. There was a song out by a band CCR called The Fortunate One “It ain’t me”.
Kent State Riots
Civil rights issues, marches around the country, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy both assassinated. The Vietnam war raging, the 68 Tet offense going on. For a youngster in a suburban environment, it seemed so far away. But then I was graduating from High School and was turning 18 years of age. When I entered the military draft, things were becoming real. I received my lottery number it was 10, yes only 9 numbers were lower than mine. I was heading to Vietnam. There were demonstrations on campuses, Kent State, 4 dead in Ohio. I thought that things couldn’t get tougher than I had it. I was wrong.
So, you see the public opinion and unrest in the country led the government to wind down the war and ended the draft. Just in the nick of time for me and a lot of youngsters my age that gave us a reprieve. I often wondered of the good luck that I received at that time. So, 40 years later, a gentleman walked into my store having a limp. I approached him and asked gentleman did you get a hip replacement? “No,” he said, “that is from agent orange”.
Spraying Agent Orange Over Vietnam
Boy did I have a flash back, Agent Orange, the policy in Vietnam to defoliate the jungle areas so the enemy couldn’t hide. “You guys had it tough back then!” “Yes, we did”, he said. He pulled out a wrist watch and asked if I could fix it. He said he had bought it at a stop in San Diego on his way to Vietnam. He had worn it thru his tour and still wore it until it stopped.
I took his watch and told him I would do what I can. The watch was analyzed, and an estimate was assessed. My employee followed up and called the gentleman. He said that he could not afford to pay that amount. When I found out what had transpired, I decide to fix the watch anyway. When it was finished, I called the man and he came into get his watch. I gave him his watch and told him there was no charge. You know he stopped and looked me in the eyes and was fighting back tears, so was I. It seemed like I had just brought one of his war buddies back to life. I hope that watch runs well for him now and well into his next deployment. That watch did more for me than just tell time. Now when I think of all the years that I felt sorry for myself because of the rough time in my teen years, it’s kind of ridiculous now when I realize how some people have it.
Now I know that it was me. I am The Fortunate One.
Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert
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