Monday, May 30, 2016

My Biggest Inspiration on Memorial Day

You walk by them in the grocery store, annoyed that they are oblivious to you. You drive behind them on the way to work, and pass them with furious acceleration. They may engage in small talk with you in the check out line, and you smile and nod.
There is a generation who once held the future of our country on their shoulders, who once felt the sting of war nearly every day...the generation of our grandparents. And yet, we don't always give them the respect they deserve.
There are men and women walking their final years on this earth, who didn't look at war with disgust and as an option, but knew it was a necessity to maintain the freedom of our people, and the oppressed of Europe.
And I had the pleasure of hearing about that time long ago, from my grandfather, the war hero.
He earned purple hearts and medals of honor during WWII. His service at that time was amazing. He was one of the soldiers to free a concentration camp outside of Munich, Dachau (which I visited decades later as a college student). He raided Hitler's summer home and tread on the same ground as many, many soldiers and defenders of humanity.
 He has been one of my biggest inspirations in life...first, as an architect, I followed his footsteps from the time I was 11 years old to college where I studied Landscape Architecture. Second, every time I look at the American Flag, or see images of soldiers who have fought, or proud men like my father who is a retired colonel, I think of Papou (grandfather in Greek).
Even now, I write a book set in his birthplace of Carbon County, Utah, where he lived in a tent with his coal miner immigrant father, mother, and four sisters, to follow the American Dream at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Papou is the ultimate inspiration.
Today, take the time to reflect on the men and women who have died for your freedoms, and thank a veteran if you encounter them. It's the least we can do.

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