When some of them got married, the men were in the U.S. military. They survived not only dangers on war zones, but they also survived the other kinds of challenges which can face any married couple. Today, some of them could hardly get their words out easily, but the phrases of "I do" were there just as they had been said decades before when the couples married.
The scene was the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Hospital. The husbands were hospitalized so Valentines's Day, a day for expressions of love, a romantic atmosphere permeated the area where ten couples renewed their vows of marriage.
"We were young and did not yet know the blessings that would come from love and marriage," said one of the brides. She and her husband have been married for 58 years. At the VA Hospital, he was in a wheelchair as he told his wife he would do it all again. A clergyman stood with the couple and pronounced them husband and wife ....again.
It was a touching scene watching men and women in their 70s and 60s, remembering how they had found each other and pledged in marriage they would support each other. There was an audience of family members and hospital staff. All around were flowers, some of them pinned to the chests of the brides and grooms.
"You're all young and healthy and full of hope, and then something happens to one of your partners," said a bride, who probably summed it up for all the couples. "You just got to know you to to help them out," she said, holding her husband's hand.
There was reaffirmation of what the couples had pledged decades ago.
It had to make everyone who was there think of that key phrase which is usually said in weddings. The one who speaks to "through sickness and health."
In the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Hospital, several of the men were in wheelchairs with oxygen tubes attached to them. They held hands with their brides.
The "I do's" were heartfelt, just as they had been all those years ago when the couples first said them.