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            It has been almost one year since my father passed away, at the age of 98. Today, on Memorial Day, I can’t help but think of him. He was a good father. He taught me a lot about life. I learned about the importance of hard work and responsibility, about taking care of family, and commitment (in marriage and life in general).

            In writing our memoir, I also learned about all he had to overcome in his life, through war and peace. On this day especially, I consider him a hero. When I was privileged to interview him for the book, I realized his unique perspective. While I always knew he was extremely proud to be an American, I had never before realized his pride in growing up in Germany, and in the German people. To be clear, he had no pride in anything related to the Nazis, but in his heritage. He loved growing up in a family with deep German roots. He loved the traditions, freedoms, and close family ties, dating back for hundreds of years.

            When he came to America at thirteen, while he was excited for his new life, he already feared what Germany was becoming. When he returned as part of the 83rd infantry I believe he was really fighting for two countries; America, of course, but also for the Germany of his youth and family.

            His reward came after the war, when after rounding up many Nazi criminals, he hired the young German woman, to cook and clean. That woman would eventually become his wife of sixty-four years, and my mom.

            As I get ready to grill some foods for our family, I fondly remember my parents, and appreciate all they did: their lives, their sacrifices, and their combined heritages. Afterall, today is a day to remember and appreciate all that have come before us, so that we might enjoy our freedoms, grill for our families, and continue to thrive.

            May God bless you, your family, remembered veterans, and your country.

Remembering my parents. Shown here with their great granddaughter Jazmyn

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