Before You Go -
A Tribute to World War II Veterans

The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood.

Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, an eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, had just returned to his home base of Del Ray Beach, Florida. He was bone-tired after a cross-country gig with his band, "Dr. Sam and The Managed Care Blues Band".

He pulled up to the booth, paid his parking fees, and wished the parking lot attendant a good night. As Dr. Sam drove away, the old man began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly.

World War II Memorial at Night

Uncertain as to how to respond, Bierstock backed up, rolled down his window and addressed the elderly man. "Sir", he said, "I have had a wonderful life in this country, and I want to thank you sincerely for what you did to preserve our way of life."

Without reply, the man began to cry.

Cut to today. Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach and a member of Bierstock's band, have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.

"If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them."

The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren.

"It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss "the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima,Bataan and Omaha Beach. "I can never thank them enough," the sonwrote. "Thank you for thinking about them."

Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it.

by Mark Schwed
The Palm Beach Post.

Listen to Before You Go and view the photo essay.

Read Dr. Bierstock's account of the story behind the song.

Take a moment to post your own personal
message of thanks to our troops.

We received the story above via e-mail, and were unable to find the original author. We asked readers to let us know if they knew who wrote this piece, or where it was published, so we could give appropriate credit.

Dr. Sam's office was kind enough to contact us and let us know the piece was written by Mark Schwed and originally published in The Palm Beach Post. We thank them for helping us give proper credit to the author.

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