We had a death in the family last week. It was extremely hard, the least reason being that it happened on my birthday. I just got back from the funeral. See below:
We buried my grandfather yesterday. And in the last few days, we grandchildren learned some things about the man who was a mentor, friend, supporter, and dear family member that we had never known before.
My grandpa was a part of the U.S. Navy Scouts and Rangers in World War II. These men were the predecessors to todays Navy SEALS. Their training included being dropped into the ocean 2-3 miles off shore and having to swim in. He was a member of the team who "went over the hump" i.e. traveled the Burma Road into China. He was away from home for more than 2 straight years before the end of The War.
This man who I knew as a jolly and loving grandpa, the bearer of a million phrases and sayings, who cheered at my graduation, danced at the weddings of my mom, aunts, and cousins, and led his family surely and truly, was a hero of his country.
He was buried at the Black Hills National Cemetery with full military honors as befits a hero. The flag was presented to my grandmother, his wife of 61 years. He received a 21 gun salute and, following the playing of taps, my cousins and I were his pall bearers.
All his daughters and all of his grandchildren found a way to be there no matter what the obstacles, as he was there for us through all of our life challenges and achievements.
This is my small tribute to the greatest hero I have ever known for all he did for his family and his country.
Gerald Lloyd Sylvis
4/30/1947 - 8/21/2008
Current Mood: sad