Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Back from Cinci

The gathering of my family to remember and celebrate my grandfather was a very solemn, touching, and wonderful occasion. There were lots of us there: 25 out of 27 grandchildren and 7 out of 17 great-grandchildren. Add in spouses and we were quite the mob. I felt guilty because it had been 14 years since I had seen my grandfather or grandmother, and I was very glad I went back for this. Some of you have asked in the comments about my grandfather's legacy. So at the risk of giving too much information, here's a synopsis:

He was a star athlete in college who went on to med school. After his internship he enlisted in the Navy during WWII. He was a diver and medical officer for an underwater demolition team, which was the precursor to the Navy SEALS. He received the Silver Star for his service, as well as a Purple Heart. About eight years ago he and his team were awarded Green Berets and the SEALS insignia for their role in units that became the U.S. Special Forces. He also served in the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, which later became the CIA. His service in the nascent OSS was classified and he even kept it secret to his family. After the war he returned to medicine and raised nine children with his wife. They put all their kids through college without borrowing any money. His frugality was legendary, but he was also incredibly generous toward charities, and he even traveled to several countries to donate his services as a doctor. He and my grandmother were married for 64 years.

I wish I had known him better, but my family moved away from Ohio when I was 2. I can count on one hand the times I remember seeing him. Over the last 14 years I didn't have money or time to travel to the family reunions, but now I wish that I hadn't relied on those excuses and gone to one or two. I'm looking forward to the next one so that I can bring Lovely Wife and the boys and introduce them to everyone.

Thanks for your wishes and comments about my grandfather. I'll return to regular blogging activities tomorrow, probably.