There are those who have served with such bravery and such valor that they have changed the course of the world.
They are the giants. And as it is said, we can see farther into the goodness and possibility of this life because we’ve been lifted by these mighty shoulders.
I have been upon one such giant’s shoulders.
They called him Sergeant. I called him Grandpa.
He knew volunteering to join ranks and defend the country, the world.
I knew the warmth of his lap for a story.
He knew the terror of foxholes.
I knew the calm he brought to a room.
He knew the nightmare of fierce battles.
I knew the reassuring sound of his voice and his wide smile for a Yankees win.
He knew heavy casualties on island beaches far from home.
I knew the way his face softened at the sight of my grandmother.
He knew the heartache of uncertainty in returning to a home a world away.
I knew the way he showed up for all our events and always in a suit jacket.
He knew a fight that was long and hard and brought great suffering.
I knew the easy conversations we had while stacking stones together in the creek.
He knew the swell in his chest to defend against evil.
I knew his grilled cheese sandwiches, and a “stone soup” dish from his childhood he called Depression Pork.
He knew darkness that threatened and awards for heroic service.
I knew his creative and giving heart as he pitched in with school projects.
He knew the relief of a war ended and the battle won.
I knew that faith was his foundation.
He knew the challenge of having to assimilate to life after a soldier’s trauma.
I knew the “Working On the Railroad” song he sang to us.
He knew great sacrifice and hardship and loss.
I knew the ease and comfort of a game of cards with him.
He knew memories that haunted him.
I knew the steadiness of his great shoulders.
If you can see further or hope bigger for our world today, it’s because of the giants such as my grandfather.
Thank you to all our brave veterans. You are our giants.