My paternal grandfather, George, died in early 2008. Google squeezes out the feels by continuing to show him sitting happily on his porch should you Street View past his house (click to enbigger). Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather, Vic, died much earlier before Google could grab a shot.
Both my grandfathers served with pride in World War II. George, in the European theater as a medic’s assistant, made it to Berlin. Vic, a navy man, served on U.S.S. Johnston and later the carrier U.S.S. Ticonderoga in the Pacific theater. Both saw action and both came home intact. Grandpa George followed the first waves onto the beach at Normandy and was responsible for shuttling casualties from the front lines to the medical stations. Grandpa Vic had emphysema for the rest of his life, complications from spending a cold night in the pacific awaiting rescue following a kamikaze attack.
Neither liked to discuss their experiences. The most you got out of either were dismissive grunts although George would, sometimes, concede, “All I did was drive a truck.” Both married their childhood sweethearts and raised their families a few miles away from each other. This lead to mom meeting dad and, eventually, a whole lot of otherwise avoidable trouble including myself, my brother and four additional great-grandchildren.
Myself having never served, being in that relatively calm stretch between Vietnam and Iraq, I am honored to salute both my grandfathers on this Veteran’s Day and every day.