Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It has been 3 years today since American Hero passed on

My grandfather was the son of Jewish Ukrainian immigrants and a proud patriot. He was almost 27yrs old married with a 2 year old when he decided to sign up and fight for America in the Navy. He could have gotten a deferment for having a child or for being past the mandatory draft age but he knew he could never live with himself when the time would come for his children and grandchildren to ask him"What did you do during the war"? He was fighting as an American and as a Jew. Those were his cousins being murdered in concentration camps and his countrymen in the South Pacific. He sacrificed the formative years of his first born and returned from war with migraine headaches and a nicotine addiction. He was huge fan of the "Bard" and could quote sections of his plays in French. He also had greater than a 140IQ which gave him membership into Mensa. As the family historian he gave me a picture of his Navy Airman's' graduation class with all their names and addresses written on the back. He would have been happy to know that a few months back I tracked down one of those airmen. It was bittersweet as I had no one to share this information with and the man didn't recall my grandfather. He died at age 91 where these other men were still in their early to mid 80s. He had a great life and even though my grandmother died at age 60 in 1975 he was able to remarry a vegetarian who helped him to stop smoking and got him focused on living a healthier life. He probably would have died years earlier had he not met her. He loved talking to street people and taking their pictures but he was not your average voyeur. Once he developed the pictures he would try to track down the street performer or bag lady and give them a copy of it. My brother father and I never could tell the when he was sharing a joke with us or if he was being serious. You see he had such a dry sense of humor and was so erudite that he didn't even realize when his jokes went over people's heads. he lost track of his Judaism when he was a teenager part in fact to having such Orthodox parents with "Shtetl mentalities". As he got older as most people do he became very close to his Judaism and would often tell me how it brought him closer to his parents who had died 50 and 65 earlier. In fact on his death bed when my father in law a rabbi came to visit him he resisted the Kaddish. That may not seem strange except he came out of a coma to recite something in a language he had not used in 75 years. He was a member of the Jewish War Vets and was at their meetings every month and a scholarship fund in his name was created and given out to high school achievers in community leadership. I could only imagine his thoughts on someone like Obama being this close to the presidency. he is probably turning over in his grave which will forever be on April Fool's Day. He thought that the democrats were detestable and the republicans despicable. I guess he was more of a libertarian and would probably like McCain for his many years of service to our country. He was all class and will forever be known in our family as a true American Patriot. I am curious what he has been talking to his first wife and parents about for the last 3yrs..not that curious.


Anonymous said...

i like what you said here i love the deep respect you seem to have had for your grand father

Unperfected Jew said...

Thank you. How did you happen on this article? UJ