Thursday, January 11, 2007
Death of a hero
My grandpa died this afternoon. Apparently he went very quickly, within 15 minutes, and I hope he did not suffer any. My grandpa was a great man and a hero to me.
My grandpa volunteered to be in the army during World War II. He claims it was because his older brother had also joined. He trained at Camp Hood in TX. He was sent to Okinawa. He was there for 4 days. He spent the next 13 months in the hospital. He had crawled out of his fox hole to help the medics get one of his wounded friends. He was hit in the back with shrapnel. His spinal cord was completely crushed. He has a hole in his back that you could fit your closed fist into. The doctors gave him 5 years to live and said he would never walk again.
My grandpa taught himself how to walk again. The doctors never figured out how. He lived to have 4 children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He was 84 when he died and he walked until a week ago. He is the most amazing man ever.
I never heard my grandpa complain, although as he got older it was harder for him to hide the severe pain he suffered. He never got angry or depressed about his situation or the fact he would never be the farmer he had always wanted to be. In his eyes, he was not a hero, just an everyday man doing what a man should do.
My grandpa loved corny jokes and telling stories. He enjoyed company, playing cards and an occasional sweet or two. He was an honest man who never said how he felt, but treated people with dignity and respect.
Because his blood runs through me, his stubbornness and perseverance, I feel as if I could also accomplish anything I wanted. When I left UW I felt as if I was letting him down. But I know he was always impressed with my studies and my travels. He had attended technical training and was proud of what I had done. He was always a supporter of whatever I did. He was my hero and he will be missed.