My grandfather, an ex-marine, told me a story today. He said that back in World War II when he was stationed in Hawaii, good friends that he’d spend all of his days with would go up in the air to log experience hours in planes, and sometimes an accident would happen and in a matter of minutes they were gone. Then, of course, all of the men would drink that night to honor their memory.
Well, one day, my grandfather was walking with his parachute over his shoulder along side the pilot to the plane when one of the other men ran up to him saying that they were switched out so that the other guy could get the four hours that he needed. Twenty minutes later, the plane crashed and that guy was gone.
You sure bet my grandfather drank a lot to honor his memory that night.
Today, my grandfather had to leave the home that he’s had for almost sixty years just three weeks after losing his wife of 64 years who gave him 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. It broke my heart. But he said, “I got 64 more years than many of those other guys. I got a family.”
He said that after the men came back from the war, they couldn’t appreciate problems facing society. Everything seemed so trivial to the deaths they saw in the service. They knew that they had close calls themselves and it was something that they never forgot.
We may have never experienced such death, but it is important to remember and honor the lives of any who have lost theirs by appreciating the time that we have.
I hope this is something that I never forget.