We buried Grandpa today. Shane's Grandpa that is. Shane was asked to speak. He talked about the 2 gifts Grandpa gave him. (I'm sure he'll write about it as he has been writing about his Grandpa for his last few posts)
One of the gifts was in the form of a handwritten autobiography that took him nearly a year to complete. It had stories about his earliest memory to the night him and Grandma got married 65 years ago before he went to fufull his draft call in service to his country. He talked working with the CCC and other jobs he had when he was young, about WWII and the invasion on Normandy, his injury, his joy at returning home to meet his oldest daughter at age 14 months. Shane's Mom typed this up and it is now in notebook form. This was completed about 14 years ago. Just a few years ago, Grandpa was awarded the purple heart for his service in WWII. (There was some glitch somewhere).
The second was “his name” Grandpa had found this poem advertised in a magazine article, found scissors, cut it out and put it aside for when Shane's dad and his family came again for a visit. Grandpa and Dad had a plaque made and presented it to Shane on his 13th birthday.
You got it from your father, Through the years he proudly wore it,
'Twas the best he had to give,
And right gladly bestowed it;
It was yours the while you live.
You may lose the watch he gave you
And another you may claim,
But remember, when you're tempted,
To be careful of his name.
It was fair the day you got it
And a worthy name to wear;
When he took it from his father
There was no dishonour there.
To his father he was true,
And that name was clean and spotless
When he passed it on to you.
It is yours to wear forever,
Yours, perhaps, some distant morning,
To another boy to give,
And you'll smile as did your father
Smile above that baby there,
If a clean name and a good name
You are giving him to wear.
You got it from your father,
Through the years he proudly wore it,
Shane concluded by tying the two together and talking of the legacy that Grandpa left for their family. The importance of hard work, family, patriotism and morals. Oh, and precious stories that made us chuckle in the midst of our grief too. Like the time he was on watch and fell asleep in a foxhole. He woke to something cold and wet on the back of his neck “knowing” it was the gun barrel of a German soldier, he turned around slowly and low and behold it was…. the nose of a dairy cow. He told of the songs that Grandpa would sing to the grandchildren long before I joined the family. Fortunately, “Froggy Goes a Courtin” is one he sang on a tape when Shane interviewed him when he was about 10. We listened to it the other night. What a great legacy Grandpa left.
Oh and after Shane spoke, they played the song “tell me bout the good ole days” how fitting.
After the ceremony we drove to the cemetary where Grandpa was honored with a military burial including a 9 gun salute and a bugler playing taps. The flag presented to Grandma.
It was truly a bitter sweet day.