My grandfather bravely served in our country's armed forces for 14 years before he died in combat on January 9, 1966. He was 33 years old, and he left behind a young wife and seven children. My grandfather was certainly a hero, but the wife he left behind was one also. She managed to raise her children without their father, while still keeping his memory alive.
Over the years, I have heard many stories about my grandfather. Although he died 16 years before I was even born, I have been able to piece stories together to create a detailed picture of the type of man that he was.
He and my grandmother married and decided right off the bat that they wanted a large family. They wanted ten children (A nice round number, I guess.) However, they never got to complete their family. They had seven children before his death; three boys and four girls. My grandmother says that after having three boys in a row they wondered if they would ever have a girl.
My mother, Patricia Ann, was the oldest of the girls. One day my grandmother was watching my little one-year-old son dance in the floor of her living room, and she said that it reminded her of my mother dancing whenever my grandfather would walk into the room. Apparently, my grandfather played the guitar, and because of this my mom associated him with music and began to dance whenever she saw him. In fact, I believe one of my uncles still has my grandfather's guitar. If so, I am sure that it's a priceless treasure.
Of the many stories that I have been told about my grandfather the sweetest and most saddening would have to be one that my grandmother shared with me just a few months ago. It was not long or detailed, it was just a fact. She said that she and "Don" would still be together if he were here today. What a high price we pay for freedom...God bless America.