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Thanks To The Veterans

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

I’m lucky to have Grandparents that were veterans of World War II and the Korean War that came back home safely.  Not always in one piece, but safely.  I thought on Veteran’s day, as a thank you, I’d share what I know about what they did.  What makes it difficult is they never really talked about it.  It’s a piece of time they would like to forget.  Here is what I can tell you.

My Grandpa Roy shipped off to Europe to fight the Nazi’s.  He was just a kid.  At my father’s house there is a plaque with his medals and Army picture.  He looks about 15 in the picture, although I know he was 18 or so.  He was in the infantry and was shot through the hand.  I don’t know where, I don’t know how it happened, and I don’t know when.  That’s all my Grandpa would ever admit to.  I believe he received a check for $100 a month for disability from the Army until he died in the 1980′s.

My Grandpa John served in the Korean War.  He was engaged to be married when he was drafted.  He was assigned to be a cook, which is funny because my grandpa John at the time was 6’5″ and stronger than an ox.  While he was overseas, his fiance dumped him with a letter.  Grandpa and I were just talking about this a few weeks ago.  He said in one letter she was all “hot and heavy and talking about jumping in the sack.”  The next she had run off with another man.  It was truly a dear John letter.  Grandpa came back from serving overseas and met my grandma.  They were married for over 50 years before she passed.  I’m guess I’m glad my grandpa got drafted.  The army took care of his trash.

My (step) Grandpa Pete served in the Navy.  He has probably the most harrowing story that I can share.  In one of the battles at Guadalcanal his ship was hit by a barrage of shells from both Japanese ships and friendly US ships.   It was obviously a crazy, confusing battle.  One of the shells knocked him backwards off the ship and broke both his knees.  He floated in the water for 3 days on a raft with fellow sailors.  Many men and his friends died.  When I was in high school I tried to interview him for a history paper I was doing, but he declined to talk about it.  I found most of this out through my step dad and the rest of the family.  Along with the history books.

And finally, my (step) Grandma Carol was one of the few women that served overseas in WWII.  From what I’ve gathered, she drove a jeep bringing messages and materials to other officers and was a messenger in a way.  One late night there was a message that needed to be delivered.  She and another woman flipped coins to see how would take the trip.  Carol won the toss and got to stay back and get much needed sleep.  The woman that took the trip never returned, her jeep was found later hit by artillery.

I always remember how lucky I am that I even exist today, especially in a free country like we have.  Things could have been way different if it weren’t for the greatest generation, my grandparents.  Thanks to the rest of the veterans.

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