Heart and Soul of American Veteran Service Men and Women is Blessed on this day

May 31, 2021 | PC Community

I was humbled this morning as I walked with Mary amongst the gravestones of America’s beloved fallen warriors at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. The cemetery grounds were beautiful with fresh cut lawns and polished gravestones that glistened in the early morning sunlight. A cool breeze floated under the canopies of perfectly trimmed trees that line the streets and pathways and breathed life into the symbol of our freedom as thousands of American flags waved honorably in memory of the spirit, heart, and soul of the brave men and women who served to protect and keep our country safe from harm and who now rest in peace.

Mary and I made our way up the steps of the monument, and step by step encountered American veterans who came together to pay their respects and to honor our fallen American warrior heroes. As we began to descend down the steps, I noticed a local gentlemen sitting on a wall along the steps and under a tree. He stood out to me. There was something about him. I looked over at him as he called out to me asking what type of lens I had on my camera. Mary and I walked over and struck up a conversation. I asked if he was a veteran and he said yes, and that he served as an M.D. in the First Special Forces Group on Okinawa during the Vietnam Conflict. I told him my Dad was a Korean War and Vietnam War Marine Corps combat veteran. He expressed his respect and experience with Marine Corps warriors.

 “I did interact with Marine helicopter crews on many occasions, when we had training parachute jumps on land and in the ocean off Okinawa.  Although we doctors never went on combat missions, in order to wear the green beret, we had to be qualified to know, understand and perform many of the operational activities of the small A teams.  Our role was to get the teams in operational readiness in terms of physical conditioning, to train the medic on the A team to function at the Physician Assistant level while deployed, and to get medical intelligence prior to any planned mission.”  

As we talked and shared our stories, Mary began to look at him as though she knew him. I’m very familiar with the body language. She asked if he used to work at Straub Hospital. He said yes. Mary then asked if was he was Dr. Roy Adaniya? He said yes as Mary was taking off her mask. Hi Doctor, it’s me, Mary Villamil. He was so happy to see her. It had been 13 years since he retired and they last worked together at Straub.

After about 15 minutes had passed, and as the two old friends and co-workers got caught up on the years that had passed, a friend of Dr. Adaniya, who was walking up the monument steps stopped to chat. The gentleman was also a Vietnam veteran and shared a few wartime stories with us. It was really neat that we were all there this morning on a mission to capture the day through the lens of our cameras which we did while making friends and catching up on an old friendship while honoring our fallen American service men and women for their courage, bravery,  and ultimate sacrifice.

Our last stop Monday morning was to visit the gravesite of Mary’s Dad who is a World War II Army veteran. I would like to say thank you to Dr. Adaniya. It was an honor to meet you and thank you for your kind words about Mary and time spent working together at Straub.

God Bless our American Veteran Warriors…