Alexei Zoubov,head with saxophone
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        A Case of a Homeless Patriot

        September 28th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Five days a week at quarter to 10 am I  walk from my home near La Brea and Sunset to The Horn Connection shop where I work, At 4 pm I take the same walk in the other direction. It takes altogether about 12 minutes one way.

        In my age I need a walk and in this sense it is a nice thing to do.¬† There is nothing really to look at on the way. One ugly building after another, sometimes they¬† demolish one ugly building to erect another even uglier in its place. I guess, it’s called progress.

        Sunset is a major street, but, as almost everywhere in Los Angeles, there aren’t many people walking on it. Those that are really walking, not just going¬† from the shop to their car, are usually the most interesting to watch. This is Hollywood, the land of real characters.

        There is at least one homeless person on the way each day, sometimes 2, 3 or more. I already know most of them and exchange hello’s with some, others are so far gone, they are way beyond any communication.

        There is one man who is there almost every day, he looks happy, alway has a smile on his face. For some reason looking at him  always makes me sad.

        He is a veteran and a patriot. His posessions are loaded on a ¬†cart that is draped in American flag. Another flag on a pole is attached to his cart. In his hand he holds a large plastic cup with stars and stripes on it. He has his veteran’s ID hanging on a string around his neck. He makes sure¬† that everybody sees it, but never asks for money.

        Homeless patriotHe now recognizes me, his smile is getting larger, he seems to be glad to see me, although it isn’t often that I have a dollar or some change in my pocket to give him. Sometimes he says “God bless America” with the enthusiasm that would work great on the election campaign.

        Isn’t it a positive thinking at its best? Do you think this guy has a vision of bright future? Or he just lost all hope and feels good about it?

        Yes, he is a true patriot. His country sent him to war to fight for whatever. May be he thought he new what he was fighting for, may be he didn’t have any idea. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The country accepted his sacrifice and¬† in return completely forgot about him and let him live on the street. And he still says loudly: “God bless America” for all us to hear.

        I do admire him¬† in some ways, I wouldn’t be able to be¬† so… forgiving?¬† Wrong word – he probably doesn’t even think there is anything to forgive. Seemingly, there is no resentment at all , no hard feelings and probably that’s what makes him happy and content.

        I don’t know about you, but it makes me angry and sad…

        Posted in Just Stories