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Military Story: The Marine’s Father

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.

He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

“Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied.
“I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”

Author Unknown

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • Kishan December 7, 2018, 10:10 am

    Nice story…
    But wouldn’t it be more important to contact his actual son?

  • Crazy27 February 19, 2016, 4:15 am

    A real man. A rare kind.

  • Lalper Soza January 10, 2014, 4:14 am

    Thanks for putting up the above story. I was really looking for this story and bumped on your site when I googled some related phrases. You know, I am 57 years old now and have heard this story when I was a teenager – in 1970’s. I guess I read it in Readers Digest and the story was based in a Norwegian hospital as I remember. So, as you rightly said, Iraq and Marine parts are recent additions, but I must add that this story was in circulation even in 1970s. I really do not know when it originated even. May be this story was based on true events, later dramatized. Or totally a fiction. However, it is so humane and moving a story I wish it was true and I could find the real, true origin of the story. Thanks a lot anyway.

  • Noying July 23, 2013, 11:07 pm

    Very nice, very inspiring.

  • Noying July 23, 2013, 11:05 pm

    I read this story when I was young now that I am in my senior years , this story still touches my heart. Good people are still around.

  • Anas June 26, 2013, 9:40 am

    Amazing, heart touching story with full of lesssons….

  • Navya May 16, 2013, 11:31 am

    Beautiful heart touching story….

  • Pranita May 12, 2013, 10:58 am

    Lovely story…Wish such genuineness and compassion exits everywhere in this world

  • Bridgette February 3, 2013, 11:27 pm

    Oooh my goodness…love the story….

  • Uche December 3, 2012, 10:39 am

    Extremely nice write-up…This site is defiitely in my fave websites..the stories just bring me down to my knees, almost everytime..

  • Abhay Anand December 1, 2012, 10:33 pm

    We have inherited this lesson from our tradition that “vasudhav kutumbkam”. It’s a real example.

  • Morgan October 9, 2012, 5:59 pm

    I think that this is a heart breaking story, and can anyone right real comments, not short petetic ones?!

  • Clanc49 September 17, 2012, 7:00 pm

    I remember reading this in stars and stipes, the man’s real son was killed in South Pacific. This story is real old 1940’s.

  • GSS9000 September 15, 2012, 1:38 pm

    I don’t know if it’s true, but this is not the whole story. The rest is this:

    …”I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed. I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name? ”

    The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, “Mr. William Grey………”

    The next time someone needs you … just be there. Stay.

  • Holly September 13, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Is this a true story or just to teach us to be better people?

  • Viplav September 13, 2012, 2:33 pm

    The story is very heart touching and inspiring..

  • Mwaura July 26, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Should the world have 50% such people, what a wonderful place it would be! In my community, anybody the age of your father is a father, hope we can learn from the marine.

  • Kwon Yubin June 26, 2012, 3:36 am

    This story is really touching. We should learn how to be kind like the Marine even the people we don’t know =)

  • SAHIL .SULE June 8, 2012, 3:15 am

    A nice and inspiring story. Nice in the way it sonds good and inspiring in a way to teach how to be helpful to others.

  • Anil June 6, 2012, 11:38 pm

    Just amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God does exist on earth.

  • Phen12 May 11, 2012, 1:13 am

    This is an awesome story. I love the author’s idea and if it is a true to life story.. I salute the young man for being kind hearted– the compassion that he have showed to the old man, especially the love even from the start he already knew that there is a mistake, and he did’dnt knw the old man. I admit, this story touched my heart. Godspeed everyone

  • Anil Arya May 3, 2012, 11:47 pm

    Very Nice.

  • Solomon Onokere April 19, 2012, 12:08 am

    This is an example of selfless love; a love that makes you act outside your personal interest. let’s try and practice this kind of love.

  • Ebs. Collins February 26, 2012, 1:38 am

    Smart fellow, we should always be good coz we never know, maybe it’s of benefit to us directly.

  • Ignicious Dube February 24, 2012, 2:35 am

    Good soldiers put people’s needs before theirs, the marien acted like a man, stood to unlish another man’s freedom. I salute true soldiers who fight & be voices for all of us. They represent humanity again “SALUTE”

  • Subba Reddy February 15, 2012, 3:01 pm

    What a great story. Hats off to author for giving such a great valuable, moral story

  • Colette February 11, 2012, 6:55 am

    I wonder why the real son didn’t show up. Well, the marine gave the old man peace and that’s a true show of humanity.

  • James Marshall February 3, 2012, 1:27 pm

    I think the turning point was: “Who was that man?” he asked.

  • Andy January 30, 2012, 3:27 pm

    I have heard of this story before however this is not the entire story….. the Marine was there to inform someone (the man) that their son was killed in combat. That is why the man thought it was his son. It’s a great story.

  • Dio January 26, 2012, 8:45 am

    Bravo… am proud of d marine… what a lesson.

  • Ernest January 25, 2012, 4:47 am

    Wowwwww. Kudos to the marine. This is a wonderful story… Thumbs up to the author. It is good to make sacrifies to others.

  • Rhubart January 15, 2012, 8:23 am

    Typical, unselfish, marine who had no hesitation when an opportunity of service was presented to him. These special men are as tough as steel and warm as the sun, knowing nothing else but to sacrifice for those around them. Very touching story, my Uncle John (rest in peace), would’ve done the same thing!

  • King December 20, 2011, 8:57 am

    Greatest motivational story. It really inspires us to help those in need, like donating to feed hungry children especially in Africa where many are orphaned. I wish to establish an NGO a day to come. Hope I get support.

  • Gaurav_Luthra November 23, 2011, 7:52 am

    The old man died in peace because of 1 unknown person.
    Hats off to that marine..

  • Lakis November 22, 2011, 4:34 am

    What if the real son is actually in searched as well then knew ……..

  • Alen sebastian November 18, 2011, 7:29 am

    Clearly shows that the whole mankind is one’s family.

  • Anand October 20, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Really a good one…. so thoughtful of the marine… a true soldier who made a timely worthy decision.

  • NOUFAL October 16, 2011, 11:26 am

    simple things we can do for others is a great thing in their life

  • Unknown September 24, 2011, 4:59 am

    Why didn’t the man think that this will cause the real son to miss the chance to see his father for the last time?

  • Agnes September 14, 2011, 2:25 am

    Sweet =)

  • m.d September 6, 2011, 3:14 am

    wow nearly made me cry

  • Shizuka Tamiko.(jamyang selden) August 26, 2011, 9:14 am

    so sweet of him. <3

  • Leo August 22, 2011, 7:43 pm

    Very nice… with a good theme..

  • mai July 26, 2011, 12:09 am

    A story that would teach us how to be a blessing to others in our own little way….very inspiring

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