Black and white photos in an old scrapbook fill the pages with names and dates delicately scripted underneath. Grandpa in his Marine dress uniforms on the steps of a building with his beautiful bride. It was a whole different world back then. The memories of my wonderful grandpa and the love he had for his family and his country makes my eyes swell with tears.
I’m sure like all servicemen, my grandpa had great pride for his country. He was so proud of the time that he served but so very humble at the same time. He never boasted about all that he had done. He never touted the medals that he had received. When he told me about his service, he mostly spoke about those who gave their all. He spoke of the canines that they had to send ahead to check for bombs. He spoke of the flag and how much it meant to him to see it flying in these foreign lands because then he knew he was safe for the moment.
Grandpa spoke about how strong his wife was for keeping a family by herself while he was gone. He spoke about how much he admired her selflessness during this time that they were apart. He imagined how hard it must have been for her to worry about him with little word of where he was or how he was. He knew that her picture and her letters were his lifeline. They kept him going when he didn’t think he could anymore.
Grandpa taught his children and grandchildren respect for our country and our flag. He taught us how to fold a flag and all the rules for handling a flag. He taught us to stand and salute when you saw it. He taught us the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance and how he would do whatever it took to defend our country no matter his age.
I am so thankful that I had this humble man in my life to show me the importance of respect for our country. He has made me so thankful for all that have served and continue to serve. He taught me that war is never a thing to be celebrated, but those who serve should be respected and appreciated.
I know our community is filled with families who have veterans and who have members serving right now. I’d like to thank them for their selflessness. Thank you for raising young people who love our country and are willing to fight for our freedoms. Thank you for supporting them while they are away. Thank you for showing respect and appreciation when they come home.
Thank you to all who have served. Take the time today to call someone you know who served and tell them “thank you.” Let them tell you their story, if they would like to share, and take the time to listen not only with your ears, but with your heart.