My grandfather died when I was in Kindergarten. I don’t remember much about him – all I really knew was that he was active in his church and held down three jobs at the young age of 76 when he died.
When I was much older, I asked my mom a few questions about my grandfather. I had known that he was a Newark Police Officer for around 30 years and that he worked in the police credit union. I was surprised to hear that he served in the Coast Guard during World War II and drove landing boats during D-Day.
As far as I knew, only one other person in my extended family had served (as a chopper gunner in ‘nam) – I genuinely had no idea that my grandpa fought in WW2. My mom produced pictures showing him in uniform and pointed to the frame full of medals on the wall. (I still can’t believe that I never figured that out.) My dad came in about halfway through the conversation and wanted to relate a story to me about my grandpa’s time as a police officer.