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Remembering My Personal Hero This Memorial Day Weekend

He was one of millions.  His name wasn’t Eisenhower or Roosevelt or Patton or MacArthur or Churchill or any of the other famous names that we all know from that era, from that time of what Tom Brokaw famously called ‘The Greatest Generation’.

No, his name is floating in the sea of history along with those millions of others that no one knows, yet no one can ever forget.  The names were Smith or Jones, Moore or Mason, James or McCloud, Bronson or Brown or….. John Doe.  Or maybe Marvin Achterhoff.

They came from everywhere, these men.  From big cities and small, from coast to coast and all the small farms in-between.  They came from places with names like Los Angeles and New York, Dallas and Seattle, Woonsocket and Sioux Falls and Trosky and Edgerton. These boys who became men and in the process saved the world.

No, in this age of ‘overstatement’, where actors are geniuses, where ball players are heroes, where singers are brilliant, these nameless faceless folks were all of that, and more.  And with modesty and humility, with an attitude of ‘I only did what I had to do and I don’t want to talk about it’, it is absolutely no exaggeration whatsoever to say this: They Saved The World.

400,000 of them died doing it.  Some came home to grieving Mom’s and Dad’s, brothers and sisters.  Some were buried ‘over there’.  Some were never found.

I thank God my Dad wasn’t one of them, one of those heroic ‘Gold Star Boys’.

My Dad came home, married my Mom, and before long my brother and I came along.  The ‘Baby Boomers’ had arrived.

There aren’t many of them left now, those heroes of the Greatest Generation.  But if you go to your local Nursing Home or Long Term Care Facility….and if God is on your side and you’re lucky enough, you might see one.  He’s sitting there in that wheelchair, by the window in the sunlight.  His head is bowed a little, his hands wrinkled and shaking.  He’s wearing slippers and he doesn’t say much.

You don’t have to say much, either.  Just walk over, touch his shoulder and say ‘Thank You’.  That’s all.  ‘Thank You’.

My personal hero passed away in 2007 at the age of 86.  He was one of the nameless, at least to the history books.  But to the many friends he had he was ‘Marv’.  To me he was Dad.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I’d like you to listen to a song that Terry Pospisil and I wrote.  Terry is the musician and singer of our duo, and I’m pretty much strictly the lyric guy.  The song is called ‘This Old Man (He Was My Hero)’ and it’s about the night my Dad passed away.

Just click on the link below.  And please, on this Memorial Day weekend while you’re grilling and drinking and taking some time off from the stress that is life, remember your Veteran that is no longer here.


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