Tuesday, November 11, 2008

happy veterans' day.

i’m going to tell you a little story today, and it goes something like this: once upon a time, a baby boy was born in a small coal-mining city in northeast pennsylvania. the baby’s name was john (though he was called jack), and he was the oldest of three children. jack—tenacious and driven even from childhood—spent the seasons of his youth in that coal-mining city, attending local schools, working odd jobs at local businesses and, eventually, falling in love with and marrying a local girl, one of his sister’s friends, named jane.

soon after his wedding, jack deployed to combat in world war II, fighting in five battles and climbing through the ranks to become a brigadier general—at one point serving as a liaison for gen. george s. patton. after retiring from active duty and returning to jane and the little pennsylvania city where he got his start, he became deputy director of the local economic development office and was on the board of more nonprofit organizations than can be counted on both hands. he also helped found a local soup kitchen for disabled veterans, because he knew that he’d been given so much and that so many of his fellow vets had so little. and in the midst of all of this, he and jane had two children, a boy and a girl.

as the years wore on, jack remained active in the organizations closest to his heart, although he was able to do less and less as his health began to fail. but he was always proud of his community and his country, and even prouder of his greatest accomplishment, his family—of his 66-year marriage to jane, of his son and daughter, and of his grandchildren.

in 2007, jack’s health began to deteroriate more rapidly and he passed away in april of this past year. he was given a full military sendoff on a cloudless, sunny day—exactly what he would have wanted. so on this veterans’ day—in the middle of fall, two days before what would have been his 90th birthday—i want to make sure i take a moment to remember jack: a fearless leader, a faithful husband and—most important, to me personally—my dear, dear grandfather.

{ photo above of my grandparents, jane and jack, circa the 1950s, scanned and resized for this blog. i adore this photo, and you can easily see why. }


  1. i am sure gen. jack is very proud of his granddaughter, now a grown woman, whose commitment to beauty and optimism daily inspires herself, her family & friends.

  2. . . . the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. ---Virginia Woolf

  3. meg, that was touching. thank you for sharing about your grandfather.