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  • on November 11th, 2011

I’m too selfish, and would never survive the grueling military path, but I hope my life reflects an appreciation for those who’ve bravely provided me with protection.  Thankfully, my Grandfather was rescued after his ship was sunk between Guadalcanal and Tulagi or else there would be no “me” here thinking about this.

I gave a eulogy when he died in 2009…it took all the strength I had to share my perception of how different he said he was back then.  The man with a perma-smile who chatted up everyone he met, back then was a shy and seasick kid from Buffalo, floating foreign seas with his fiance waiting and father dying back home.  He never talked about it until I asked him when he turned 90, but his lifelong “trouble sleeping” originated from being awoken to bomb blasts on the George F Elliott:

He and his shipmates quickly learned to float, were rescued, and he enjoyed 65 years of marriage plus 2 kids and 8 proud grandkids.  One of them, my younger brother Jeff, shocked us all by ditching college to enlist in the Air Force.  He’s learned a ton, got his degree, and last week climbed another rank to Chief at age 35; I couldn’t be prouder and more thankful for his service.  My cousin Matt took the other route, feeling compelled to enlist in the Army after getting his degree from Syracuse, thankfully making it through a tour in Iraq and returning with an amazing perspective on our place in this world.

So yes, Veterans Day is an important day on my calendar…and another day for me to remember my hero Jack Fogarty.

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