My daughter gripped my hand and asked me, "Daddy, is that man in the wheel chair a soldier?" I told her he was. "What is the jewelry on his shirt and hat?" I told her they were medals and what they meant and what he had probably seen and done to rescue the world from pure evil. "Is he a hero?" "Why don’t you go ask him?" She released my hand and walked over to the old soldier—the WWII Veteran—I followed, but not too close.

This was her moment with this man, "Hi." The man smiled at her. "Hello there", he said. She pointed at his medals: "my Daddy says you are a soldier." The man looked up at me and I smiled. He looked back at my Daughter. "I was, yes, I was."

He took my Daughter’s hand and patter her head. "Are you a hero?’ How do you answer that? My dear friends who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan—Bryan, Kelly, Ben, David, Dennis, Mark, Sonia and many more—tell me that they don’t feel heroic, they just did their jobs. But, how do you answer a little girl, her eyes filled with admiration and a sense that you—the old man in the wheel chair—are something more than a guy who did a job?

That’s when he cried and, with all the might he could muster, picked her up and set her on his knee. She touched his ball cap filled with emblems. "Little one", the man spoke," I am not a hero, I am just an old soldier ... these men ..." he sobbed a little and rubbed her back and then looked at her again, "my friends were heroes and soldiers and I came here for them."

My Daughter looked into this man’s eyes and did something only a little one would ever do. She put her finger inside her sleeve and she wiped the man’s cheeks. He laughed and I walked over. She got down and said, "he says he is not a hero, but his friends are."

What do you say to that? To your little girl with the tears of an old soldier on her bright pink and white sleeve? You know what you don’t do? You don’t ruin the moment snapping pictures, you absorb it into your being.

I looked the old soldier in his green eyes and said, "Honey ... that’s what true heroes always say and we just have to tell them thank you." The old man nodded and mouthed thank you. " via