Thread: Veterans in your family?
#1 Veterans in your family?
11-18-2009, 07:46 PM
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
Have you any veterans in your family? Are you one?
If anyone has or had a veteran in their family, would be cool to hear stories/pay tribute to them in this thread.
I have a few but the two main veterans I know a little about are my maternal grandpa, and my paternal grandpa.
My maternal Grandpa was born here in the USA in 1920 to Italian immigrants. He enlisted in the Army in '38 and was sent thereafter to guard the Panama Canal. There, he got Malaria, which would haunt him for the rest of his life. By 1942, my grandpa was a Sergeant, and in '42, they re-assigned him to Europe--In Patton's Third Army. He was involved in the Rhineland and Northern France campaigns, and by 1944 was a Staff Sergeant, and had earned a Bronze Star (with V device), Army Air Medal (with V device), Combat Medal (with V device), but we don't know for what--a lot of his papers were lost in the '73 fire.
His service in the army was cut short in Luxembourg--He was shot in the leg in early '45 by a German snipe, causing a compound fracturer. He kept his leg but spent a year in the hospital. The doctors wanted to amputate his leg but he raised his gun to the doctor and told them, "Try it and I'll shoot you. If you take my leg my life is over.", not exact quote but you get the gist. He was honorably discharged.
He later worked for the Post Office from the 50s through the 60s, and on the side as a Security Guard (working for the Pinkerton detective service at the '64 NY World's Fair) and as a chauffeur. He suffered a massive stroke in 1973, which he recovered from almost completely; a pulmonary embolism in 1974, from which he recovered from, before dying in 1975 of a second stroke in a VA waiting room.
Though I never met him (He died in 1975; I was born in 1990), my grandpa is one of my heroes..He was a good man, who served his country loyally and admirably, and was a good father to his children, never hitting them or calling them names, and was a well liked, patient guy. He's someone I look up to and would like to emulate. He was also a brave man--Not just in his military service but later in life--
When he suffered his first stroke in '73, he woke up that morning and I guess realized something was wrong. He and my grandma had separated so he was living on his own. He didn't panic or get nervous, but he went, took a shower, shaved so he looked good, dressed himself and called a Cab, which took him to the Hospital.
Now, as far as my paternal grandpa, he too was of Italian descent, born in 1929, growing up in Bensonhurst, the son of a respected Mob-connected bookmaker (though my grandpa always went the straight and narrow path) His father, my great grandpa, died when he was only 40 and so my grandfather was the ''man of the house'' from a young age--He left medical school to get a job so he could take care of his mother and younger sister. He was drafted into the Army in 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War.
While he was never sent overseas, though he repeatedly asked to be sent to Korea, he was sent to Alabama, which he hated, to work as a trainer--He had and still has a great mind for electrical setups and whatnot, and so was assigned to teach his fellow soldiers how to set up and run telephone lines for the battle field. While he never saw action, he did do something good at home--
In the army he made a friend who was an African American, uncommon in those days especially since he was raised in a predjudiced family, and one day he and his friend went to go into a bar to have a drink while off duty in Alabama. He walked into the bar with his friend; this was the deep south in the era of segregation, and he was told "Get that fucking ni***r out of here."by the men in there. My grandpa and his friend responded by kicking the shit out of the men in the bar, nearly getting arrested in the process.
He's still alive, at 80 years old, and thank God, healthy. He worked most of his life as a foreman for the Park's Department, and was well liked and loved on his job. He wasn't the best of fathers to my father or his siblings, had an anger problem but was a loyal husband. Today he's a pretty calm guy, and he and my grandma have been married over 50 years. He'll make you laugh with his stories and his still rebellious attitude.
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