A soldier, a hero, my Grandpa

On this Veterans’ Day, I feel so thankful to everyone who has served and is serving our country. I cannot even fathom the sacrifice, or the loss of time with family and friends. It’s such a SELFLESS act, to protect one’s country and to give up as much as they do.

My Grandpa served in the Army and was in the second fleet that stormed Normandy. He was 21 years old. I can’t imagine what that would have been like. To have been young, scared, not knowing if you would live, and then see Normandy and its horrific scene.

As a child, I didn’t know what his sacrifice meant. He never talked about his time in the Army. Instead, he worked at GM on their line and never complained. He was a hard worker, a provider, and so so funny. He was the best joke teller ever, with a wit and humor that was unmatched.

In addition to his humor, he was charming and a good dancer. He always had a kind word or nice thing to say to the person he was talking with. At family weddings, or whenever the mood struck him, he’d break out his signature dance move that can only be described as a little bit Grandpa Ray and a little bit Elvis.

When we’d go to visit my grandparents, his face would light up and he’d say “Hi ya sweetheart!” His was forever my cheerleader and supporter. As I got older and went to college, the visits became less frequent. Then one day, I met the man I was going to marry. I introduced my now husband to my Grandpa. I’m so thankful that my husband got to know my Grandpa. We got engaged and told our family…it was around Thanksgiving. A month later, my Grandpa was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He was given 3 months. By February, he was gone. I never got to dance with him at my wedding, and my children never got to meet this man, who was larger than life. I still can’t believe how quickly he was taken from me.

So on this Veterans’ Day, my heart aches for my Grandpa….a soldier, a husband, a father, a Grandpa, and my hero.