He was an ordinary American boy who left home, lied about his age and joined the Navy. Rising through the enlisted ranks, his XO took the young man under his wing and tutored him for an officer candidate. Unfortunately, a lovely Cuban lady, some time A.W.O.L. and a nearly-missed boat put paid to that opportunity. As late as his 80s, finishing off our second bottle of wine, he admitted he still couldn’t decide whether or not the seniorita was worth it.
He served aboard the U.S.S. Mississippi and was honored for his courage in repairing her battle-wounds under heavy bombardments and kamikaze attack.He was a pattern-maker: If you’re ever visiting Pacific Grove, California, stop by the justly famous Monterey Bay Aquariaum. That lovely brasswork? He made it. Uncle Sam taught him the skills, refined them under fire, and he made of them a gift for future generations. He was the best grandfather a girl could have, even if he was my great-uncle.
For you and all the other veterans who have served our country, and placed your lives between “your loved home and the war’s desolation”… For all the grandfathers and brothers and sons who didn’t come back. We’ll remember you, from this day to the ending of the age.