Special Veterans -- by Jennifer Mitchell
I have a few special Veterans in my life, but these two stand out. My grandpa and his brother were deployed at the same time during the war. My grandpa was stationed in Hawaii for two years and his job title was communications. His brother was stationed in East England, his job was a ball turret gunner, because he was small enough to fit in that compartment. He was stationed for four years. Before their deployment I think the longest they had been away from home was to attend boy scout camp. It was a tough time for both of them to be so far away from home.
When my grandpa was deployed he was dating my grandma. While he was stationed there he bought her a silver charm bracelet with the Hawaiian islands on it. My grandma would wear it on special occasions, and I always loved to hear the story. When my grandma passed that was one of her keepsakes that I really wanted, I loved how special it was to her. On one occasion I was wearing it, after my grandma had passed, my grandpa noticed I was wearing it. He was typically a pretty quiet soft spoken guy, my grandma was usually the talker, that day he reminisced about buying it for her, how much he missed her, and that he was proud that even though it was pricey he was able to afford it for her. My grandpa wasn’t the best at being a gift giver, giving flowers, etc. throughout their life so I think him buying this on his own was even more special to her.
Because my grandparents lived through the depression, and endured the uncertainty of war and deployment, they always had a different perspective on life. They were very thrifty. They knew at any time there could be a shortage of food or money. They did not make unnecessary purchases when money could be saved for a rainy day. Though I am certainly not as thrifty as they were, I can still hear their whispering when I contemplate spending money. They were also very good about reusing things, something as simple as a bread bag and twist tie were saved for another use. They had a different philosophy about waste than most do today because they lived through such a trying time. I think that gave that generation far more grit than I will ever have.
My grandparents valued the importance of traveling, and they gifted our immediate family the opportunity to go to Hawaii with them. I was able to experience things like Pearl Harbor, and gain a little better understanding of what it meant to live through that time.
Though I witnessed by example how they led a simple life, they were always very fulfilled and shared their blessings with others. Being stationed away from home, and the people you love, can put into perspective how you want to live your life