Patrick K. O’Donnell, a Breitbart writer, recently recalled a homeless WWII vet while the tundra like weather engulfs much of the United States. He writes of the veteran’s unusual optimism despite his current status and the shameful way people treat him just because he’s homeless.
As the 69th anniversary of the Battle of the Budge passes this month, many can think back to the particular instance. For most citizens of the United States though, it is a time far beyond our existence but not any less appreciated. O’Donnell writes that as the nation endures through one of the coldest cold fronts in the past 20 years, he is forced to think about an encounter he had with WWII vet, Richard Musto.
He starts out by describing that Musto, although homeless, was nonetheless compassionate and giving. Offering things such as a hotdog—or “frankfurter”—and a cup of coffee despite the man having nothing seems to demonstrate his point.
During the duo’s brief encounter, O’Donnell mentioned that he learned of Musto’s past. As it turns out, Musto was wearing a, “US First Army, 6th Armored Division and 2nd Armor Division pin, which said ‘Hell on Wheels.’” Now of course to the average person this may not mean much, but to O’Donnell—an established historian of the WWII era—it meant so much more. He soon asked Musto, “Were you in the 6th Armored Division in WWII?”
To his surprise, Musto answered, “No, I was in a field artillery outfit that supported them—37mm anti-tank guns, pea shooters that didn’t do shit against German Panzers.” Furthermore recalling his history Musto insightfully asked, “You know it would take five Shermans to take out a Tiger tank?”
Reminiscing into the darker memories of the war, he recalled seeing, “a dead man’s severed arm still bearing a gleaming gold wedding band,” where he could only wish for Americans to see what we were doing to our fellow human beings and vice versa.
Shifting the topic, the two discussed what Musto did before the war where he told O’Donnell he was a, “photographer, private investigator, and even an amateur boxer before the war.”
O’Donnell expressed a specific of their discussion saying:
“See this fist?” Musto put his fist about a foot from my face. “It’s about a third the size larger than a normal fist.” It did appear to be larger. “They used to call me the two-fisted, white-lightning motherfucker,” he said with a mischievous smile.
Unfortunately though the story takes a bit of a turn when the two were kicked out of the restaurant they were in so that the manager could clean. Even after expressing that he was a vet, he still kicked him out expressing a convenient “liability purpose.”
Recalling that they next went to a coffee stand where Muston offered to buy them some coffee, O’Donnell says:
As we sipped on the warm joe, someone off the street came up to Richard and gave him a Danish and another coffee. Richard gently placed them on his battered suitcase. “I feel rich. That guy used to treat me horribly until he found out who I am, now he’s nice to me,” he said.
It’s incredible to learn the stories of those around us and sometimes, despite their misfortune, they still find away to convey that contagious optimism.
Feel free to read the two’s full encounter here.
Let us know what you thought of their heartfelt moment in a comment below!