Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reader Comment re Night watch


Last month I posted a story, Night Watch, about a Marine who sat next to a dying old man’s bedside, holding his hand and comforting him in his last moments. In his ailing condition, the old man thought the Marine was his son. After the old man passed away and the nurse was comforting the Marine on the loss of his father, he explained that he did not know the old man. “I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realised that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.” 

The story is at: 

I also mentioned that according to snopes.com, the story has been around since the 1990’s and that recently a varied ending had been added, a twist that in my view ruined the story. I did not post that and did not say what it was. 

A number of people have asked me about that ending. 

Byter Kieran sent me an email as follows: 
I'm wondering: what was the "twisted" ending that robbed your Marine story of its poignancy? Was it that the old man had written a will which gave all his considerable property to "whomsoever shall be by my side at the time of my death?". That was the sort of ending that, it occurred to me, someone might have taken it upon themselves to add. If my guess is close, then that would be sad. It would change the moral from "a good deed is its own reward" to "the universal rewards (materially) good deeds" - something which is both untrue and unnecessary. 
Good guess but not correct.

The additional ending I mentioned is short and consists of some additional spoken words by the Marine and the nurse he is talking to: 

“I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman's name? "

The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, "Mr. William Grey........."

----------ooOoo-----------

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