It is a busy time of year at our house. If you are on social media, I hope you noticed that Monday was World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). On March 21st individuals around the world celebrate the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. Why? March, the third month of the year, represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome. Typically developing individuals have 23 sets of two chromosomes. Individuals with Down syndrome get a little something extra and have an extra 21st chromosome hence the 3-21 World Down Syndrome Day. Science lesson for the day. Facebook and social media are filled with pictures and positive messages. Groups host events to celebrate, honor and engage. This is one of the pictures I posted for #WDSD16.
Busy or not you have to go to the grocery story. Monday I needed to take a quick trip to buy a few items. With my list in hand, I was focused. However, as I made it to the door of the grocery store I was stopped by an older gentleman. He wanted to talk. He started telling me about winning a prize on a scratch pad. I knew he just needed someone to talk with and I didn’t really have time but I chatted with him. I kept thinking I need to get going.
He told me about his granddaughter, great-grandson and nephew who all shared his birthday. He shared their pictures. I noticed he had on a WWII Veteran’s cap. I thanked him for his service. He told me about going to Europe. He told me that while he was there his brother died in another part of the war. At the time, he was a gunner. When his brother died, he requested to be moved off that task and they honored his request. If I understood him correctly, he said he went on eight missions.
He wanted to know what I did and I told him I worked for the National Down Syndrome Society. He wanted to know how I got into that. I told him about my daughter Rachel and he wanted to see a picture. I found one and he wanted to know if she was healthy and what having Down syndrome meant. I shared a little and told him it was World Down Syndrome Day.
I again thanked him for his service and he said “There aren’t many of us still left. You know, I would do it all again.”
A great thing happened to me on World Down Syndrome Day. I’m glad I made time to spend with this gentleman. I imagine he didn’t have time to go to World War II but he did, and I am thankful.