Welcome to my first blogging for books attempt. I’ve wanted to do this for a while but due to technical difficulties (mostly, I could never find the site or get the email to actually know the topic, but I digress). This month the topic is the military.
As I thought of what, exactly, I wanted to write about, many ideas came to mind. Yes, I live in a military town. We have the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, Shriever and Peterson. And yes, I see military all the time. I have friends and relatives in the military or retired from the military. I’m rather patriotic and I admire deeply those who serve. I even cry every Christmas when they air the Toys for Tots commercials where the kid asks the marine if he is Santa and the marine silently takes the child’s wish list. Yeah, tear jerker that one is!
Yet as I pondered what to write about, only one thing kept popping back with any real sticking power. My grandfather.
My grandfather served in the Navy in World War II. I didn’t know this until long after he had passed away. For years, I thought of my grandfather (who died when I was 14) as a grumpy old man who didn’t like his grandkids. See, he was getting older, he had health issues and every time we were around him, he insisted on no noise and no fun.
Then recently, as I flipped through so old photos, I saw my grandpa feeding squirrels and I remembered he used to do that with Vicky and I. Then I remembered that he made wind chimes and let me wear his big boots when I was just a little girl (they came up to my hips). Then I learned he was in the Navy and served during the war.
I think sometimes about what sort of sailor my grandfather was. I wonder what sort of combat he saw, if he lost friends. These are things I won’t get to know because my grandfather, like most WWII vets, has passed on.
I think of my grandma, waiting at home to marry her sweetheart. They married in 1945. I have the quilt my great-grandmother made as a wedding gift. Did my grandma find the same man come home that had left her? Probably not. I don’t think any person who serves in war comes home the same. It’s an experience that changes, that imprints on you. I’ve seen enough stories about war to know that.
I’m proud to know my grandpa served our country, I’m proud to know he did his part to secure our way of life. It has helped me change my view of my grandpa, to see him as the whole person he was, and not just a cranky old man who didn’t like kids. I hope that the scars weren’t too deep and that he had enough love in his life to ease any painful memories.
I’m proud of my grandpa, proud of all the boys who went to war in those dark days. I’m proud of all the men and women who serve today, fighting for freedom and liberty. I’m reminded that every person in our military, no matter their reason for being there, is there to do a job and they do it well. And thousands around the world owe a debt of gratitude to our fine boys (and now girls, too).
I salute my grandpa, and all those who serve. Thank you.