Hey soldier!  Where are you from?

Joe Lipsius  
Hq  272nd Inf Rgt


From May 7 - 9,  2005, I was a guest in Moscow, Russia, with seven other Americian soldiers and many, many Russian and other Allies' soldiers, for Russia's great celebration of  the 60th Anniversary of VE Day.  All kind of events were staged morning, afternoon and night. 

One of the most memorable was the state Dinner at the Kremlin Palace hosted by Russian President Putin and his wife for the visiting heads of states and their wives, and the soldiers.  Every person was assigned a specific table with a name card at the place to be seated. 

I was at table No 6, a round table for six people, as were the others.  My table was at the front right side just  before a stage where press, photographers and security  were gathered.  During the conversations, endless salads and beverages, someone said President Bush is over there. I had aranged for my new digital camera to be carried by one of the guides to take appropriate pictures of me, when the occasion arose  Beckoning the guide, I stood up and started walking to where someone said the President was sitting, a couple of tables or so away.  

I think I shouted, "Where is President Bush?"  Suddenly, this man is walking towards me, extending his hand and asking, "Where are you from, soldier?"  I shook President Bush's hand and replied, "I am a Gawgaw Kracker!"  He smiled, and said,  "I'll be down that way next week." Laughing, I asked, "What will you be doing, pushing your Social Security bill?" He said "Yes, but it won't affect you." 

Almost immediately, while this was going on, Seaman Dan Grow, of Santa Rosa, CA, one of the eight Americans, joined us.  My guide camera man was able to get a great picture of the three of us.  President Bush in the middle between Dan and me.  Russia's President Putin is behind just over my right shoulder. 

I remember!