Back in July of 1966, after you graduated high school by the skin of one's teeth, you enlisted in the United States Armed forces. The bravest decision any young man or woman could make. Soon enough September came around and you were headed off to basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey. You went to Fort Sam, Houston, then to Fort Devons, Massachusetts, then along cane February of 1968. You were deployed to Central Coastal, Vietnam which was north of Qui Non, Vietnam located in the Bin Din province. You were apart of the 44th medical brigade that was assigned to the 173rd Air Bourne brigade as a combat medic.
A few words you spoke one day that broke my heart were, "I was just 18 years old. I went from drinking beer as a teenager to being an adult in a matter of 24 hours. I was scared for 365 days." To even imagine what you and your fellow friends went through over there is absolutely terrifying.
Finally, the day had come. It was February of 1969 and you were able to come home, to come back to the land where you were born and raised, the land that your father fought for as well while he served in the Army during World War II. He earned a Silver Star, the Purple Heart, and other countless medals because of his heroism. You had a hero to look up to and I'm forever grateful that I have my hero to look up to too.
Whenever you tell any story, I can't wait to hear it. I can't wait to see the emotions you have while telling it, hear you laugh about all the good times you had or the seriousness of a dire moment you experienced. You're the bravest man I have ever met and you continue to persevere every day.
You live every day like you have no regrets. You always tell me that if you haven't had been in Vietnam you would've been at the Woodstock Festival. Unfortunately, you had to settle for the mud-pits in Vietnam rather than the mud pits in Woodstock where you would've been as high as the sky listening to Joe Cocker sing "With a little help from my friends," while he played the air guitar.
Thank you for taking care of me when I had no one else. Whether you know it or not, you have been my rock for a long time. Anytime I have something going on you're the first one I go to. You're always there to support every decision I made to the fullest extent possible. Whenever something goes wrong whether it's in school and it's a failing grade or I have a boy problem you're always there to pick me back up and tell me to keep going.
That it's just one bump in the long journey that you have ahead of myself. You're so proud of everything I do and I wouldn't anyone else by my side to go through this journey with.
I can't even imagine what life would be like without you and I don't ever want to. You have no idea how forever thankful I am to have gotten to know such a handsome, brave, and soulful man.
Although, I get so annoyed by how many times you tell me that the corner on River Street and Tefts Lane could possibly be slippery, that the temperature is below freezing so I need to be precautious, that the dial on the oven needs to be set one hundred degrees lower than what it says, or even how many times I voice my democratic opinion on your Republican self, I wouldn't want to hear it from anyone else. You're looking out for my youthful self and I appreciate that. I couldn't be more proud to call you my grandfather. I'll love you forever and a day!