On June 6, Norman Goad of Hillsville, World War II veteran, VFW Post 1115 Chaplain Emeritus, and Pastor of Shady Grove Community Church, had a surprise encounter.
His family had planned a trip to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia on the day commemorating the 74th anniversary of Operation Overlord. The ceremony honored not only D- Day veterans, but all World War II vets. The very moving ceremony included music by the 29th Division Band, recognition of the veterans present, and the laying of wreaths by dignitaries from France, Canada, and the U.S., including the son of Desmond Doss, the Lynchburg WWII hero featured in the movie Hacksaw Ridge.
The highlight for Goad, however, was being able to talk with George Patton Waters, grandson of General George S. Patton. Goad was able to tell Waters about the time Goad met General Patton and rode with him as the machine-gunner in an Army Jeep during World War II. Goad asked General Patton if he would like to ride in the front seat. After spewing several expletives, which was common for the General, he answered, “Hell no, you may need to use that gun!”
Goad said the General wore two pearl-handled pistols, one on each side. Waters intently listened to Goad and said his passion is traveling around the country thanking the remaining veterans and their families. Near the end of their conversation, he reached into his pocket and gave Goad a coin with General Patton’s picture on the front. The back of the coin was inscribed, “Thank you for your service to our country – With deep respect from George Patton Waters, grandson of General George S. Patton.”
Goad and Waters both seemed enriched by their encounter, and Goad said he was so glad he was able to meet and share with the grandson of “Old Blood and Guts” – General Patton.