My grandfather stormed the beach at Normandy and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. He suffered in tremendous pain the remainder of his days both physically and mentally here in Greensboro following the countless surgeries he endured.
He was in the first platoon to enter a concentration camp where the remaining Jews were beating to death with sticks a couple SS soldiers. My grandfather was moved to such anger and tears when he heard people deny the Holocaust. He would tell, barely able to talk, the sites he witnessed of the mountains of bodies piled up. The tears usually came when he described also of the smell. He pleaded with me to never forget, and to never let people deny what happened in Europe at the hand of the Nazis.
My grandfather did all of the above because he was a patriot and a member of the greatest generation to ever participate in this country. He did so because he and millions of others around the world decided to send a clear message that we would literally not let some twisted and desperate lust for identity overtake the world. I keep a photo of him next to my desk to remember his life and all the precious lessons he taught me.
He was awarded 5 Bronze Star Medals and was recognized for serving with honors.