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Mall Santa Spots a WWII Veteran in the Crowd. What Happens Next Is Amazing.

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As we go about our busy days during the Christmas season, there are thousands of sweet or life-changing moments we miss when we don’t stop to notice the little things. Facebook user Gina Stecher Wilbur experienced this firsthand when she noticed something unusual about the Santa actor at her local mall.

Wilbur shared in a now-viral Facebook post that while she was at the Concord Mall in Wilmington, Delaware, she stopped for a rest on a bench near a Santa’s Workshop attraction, she enjoyed a brief moment of people-watching.

What she saw next was an extraordinarily simple yet heartwarming incident.

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“…Took a second to sit on a bench near Santa’s workshop… then Santa steps away from his Chair,” Wilbur explained in her post. “He walks over to a veteran sitting on the wall…”

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“As Santa approaches, the veteran stands and Santa takes a knee,” she continued. “I hear Santa telling the gentleman, in a soft voice, of others he knew who served. He shakes his hand with genuine gratefulness thanking him for his service and returns to the children.”

Wilbur described the touching display of honor and respect the “best moment of [her] day.”

Christmas shopping with Cavan and took a second to sit on a bench near Santa’s workshop… then Santa steps away from…

Posted by Gina Stecher Wilbur on Saturday, 1 December 2018

Wilbur noted in a statement to FOX29 that she wasn’t the only one who had noticed the Santa’s kind heart. “Others were commenting of heartwarming stories about Santa and how he impacted them; always greeting and respecting veterans, signing to deaf children and holding the sleeping babies.”

“I even received a Facebook message from Mrs. Claus boasting about her kind, endearing husband we all call Santa,” she added. “If you are looking for the real Santa, I know him!”

Not long after her post went viral, the veteran’s daughter reached out to Wilbur identified him as 93-year-old Bob Smiley, who served under General George S. Patton.

After the moment was shared by millions across the nation, Wilbur, Smiley, and the anonymous Santa met at the mall for a reunion.

What an absolutely unforgettable, incredible day… and it’s only 8am! So much to say but I’m soaking it in.. for now. I am in awe.

Posted by Gina Stecher Wilbur on Thursday, 6 December 2018

“We owe a debt of gratitude to men like this, that have made such a life-changing decision to give up themselves, be willing to lay down their life even, for other people,” Santa told FOX29.

“This picture is no longer just an image but a photograph that came to life,” Wilbur shared with the news outlet. “It goes so much deeper because of those two men.”

“They have led lives that will leave legacies and we are all getting a glimpse of it now. In a world full of so much negativity, I truly think we have to seek the positive,” she commented. “There are genuinely good people all around us, doing great things. It’s all about perspective. We just need to choose to see it and share it.”

 

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Craft Beer Customers Leave Unopened Can of Pale Ale on Bar for Fallen Soldiers

The gesture did not go unnoticed.

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craft beer

There really isn’t anything more American than craft beer. Before the experiment called “prohibition”, America was home to well over 2,500 breweries, with a vast majority of these businesses being family-operated and neighborhood-focused.  The banning of alcohol in the early 20th century brought this number down to around a half dozen or so companies, nearly all of whom converted their factories to produce medicine or dairy products in order to survive. Now, thanks to the resurgence of craft beer, Americans have their choice of nearly 4,000 smaller breweries to buy their swill from. And this doesn’t include brands like Coors, Miller, or Budweiser, who have all been gobbled up by giant, foreign conglomerates, making them no longer American-owned companies. In Atlanta, Georgia, the undisputed king of craft beer is Sweetwater – a brand usually focused on recreation and leisure. As visitors experience the brewery’s newly renovated taproom over Memorial Day Weekend, something special and spontaneous happened. To that, we simply say “cheers”.

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Uplifting

Total Strangers Gather to Celebrate Life of Korean War Vet on Memorial Day Weekend

America has not forgotten those who sacrificed it all for our freedom.

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veteran

Amid the barbecues and Budweisers, it can be difficult to temper our Memorial Day celebrations with the true reason for the remembrance. Those of us with a three day weekend are likely gassing up the boat, gathering our grill supplies, and lathering on the sunscreen in anticipation of Memorial Day – a holiday that is far too often relegated to the realm of “hey it’s summer”-style shenanigans. We mustn’t ever forget why we have the day off, however. Memorial Day is truly a day of solemn reflection on those we’ve lost in the line of American military duty – a fact that is all too often overshadowed by these celebrations. But not for the fine people of Ohio, who showed the world what compassion is all about this weekend. A public call for mourners to attend the Ohio funeral of an unaccompanied 90-year-old Korean War veteran Saturday resulted in an overwhelming response. “It being Memorial Day weekend it was the right thing to do to come up and honor his life,” Suzanne Koehne told Fox 19. She attended the funeral in Cincinnati after driving nearly 100 miles to get there from Louisville, Kentucky. The turnout was incredible. An estimated 400 strangers, like Koehne, showed up to pay final respects to Army veteran Hezekiah Perkins whose only family, a daughter, couldn’t make it because of poor health, Fox 19 and other media reported. The gesture is just another reminder of the inherent greatness of the American public, and their reverence for those who sacrificed it all for our freedoms.

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