Veterans Day -- My WW2 Grandpa
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
My grandpa, among other relatives, served in World War 2, proceeding after World War 1 in which Veteran's Day originated on November 11, 1919 on the 11th hour.
His life was marked with difficulties that he survived among the simple successes. He survived the Great Depression, death of his dad, an abusive step-father who kicked him out around the young age of 13 (later reconciled as adults), World War 2, and California environmental regulations that killed the lumber industry soon after he retired in the early 1990's. He had four children with one, his first daughter, passing away around 12-13 years old.
He returned to Oregon after his military service to work in the lumber mill as a saw filer having only up to 6th grade education. He finally settled in Fort Bragg, California until he passed away. His house was his home but my holiday vacation during my childhood years. A simple neighborhood house on the West coast nestled away from the main thoroughfare highway cutting through the now tourist and ever-so changed town.
He would be found either sitting on his old, warn leather chair reading or tinkering in the backyard or large work-shed. A warm, inviting smell that some would think detestable filled the backyard and work-shed in the cool, crisp coastal town. He smoked up to two packs of Newport cigarettes a day while working around the house and tinkering on electronics in the back shed. A tidy little garden filled the area between the house and shed with the fence line of blackberries which they used to make blackberry jam both delicious and seemingly long-lasting through the years.
He had a stack of books and a Bible next to his old, warn leather chair in the living room adjacent the kitchen. He hung a picture of his ship USS Griswold above him though not much was ever shared. I wish I would have asked more questions and learned more about his time in WW2 and on the USS Griswold.
He entered as an electrical engineer, but we will never know about the specific experiences he had except that he served and survived. Children often are left with the airy expectation to not ask questions for whatever reasons especially if something has never been voluntarily shared. His home was welcoming, and he taught how to do things like cut wood or hunt coastal blacktail deer.
His hard-working character, grit, problem-solving, simplicity, and endurance marked the great generation of World War 2. There's nothing glorious about war, and all of what we hear is that war is hell. Our generation seemingly grows in glorifying death when a whole generation was haunted by it and never felt the glory in their glorious victory against evil. One great lesson for our generation is not to live for any other glory except God, in whom undergirds the foundational truths, principles, and hope we have as his creation -- especially in this nation. When people serve our nation, they need to know the mission is worthy and that they fight for a future generation not too.
I never thought of him as a veteran but my grandpa.