Robin Amy Bass

MEMORIAL DAY, 2007

It’s Memorial Day 2007, and this city is crawling with Marines and Sailors. My camera is with me, but it wasn’t working this morning. I think that might have been something the Universe orchestrated…

On my way to work, (it’s always a sale day for me on Memorial Day) four Navy Sailors on liberty were riding the 1 train going uptown. They were two women, two men in their Navy whites… obviously on liberty… eating egg on a roll sandwiches… on the shoulder of one, I read USS WASP.

At the 79th Street stop a guy, obviously down on his luck – with a cane and a plastic bag on one foot and rags and in need of a shower, gets on and looks the four sailors up and down. He starts to talk about the USS Wasp and Vietnam. I don’t know much about that ship (Carrier?). Then he asks the 4 for a handout. He says they cut off his benefits 4 months ago. (I thought he said VA, but am not sure – the subway car is extremely noisy) They say they are not allowed to carry money.

“The Bum” sits down at the other end of the car. I slide over to the 4… I ask the one of the women, “Is he a Veteran?” What did he say?”

She says “Yeah, he’s Vet; it’s a shame.”

I go over to him, as the train pulls into 86th street. Toss him 5 bucks. It’s not enough, and I know it. He yells, “Thank you Miss!” as I run to open my store, for our Memorial Day Sale.