6.08.2010

A Tale of Two WWII Veterans

This is a look at two good men who have some things in common. By comparing these two people, I am not passing judgement in any way, but just showing a different set of values. One is not necessarily the right way and one is not the wrong way - just different philosophies.

Both were in the Pacific in WWII....one as a member of the medic core and Marine band. The other was in the Navy.

Both returned when the war was over and were blue collar workers; neither ever earning a lot of money.

Both loved their wives deeply, and had big families.

These are some of their similarities, now let me tell you a little about their differences:

Carl loved life; he was a man who enjoyed his family and his life to the fullest. One year, while living in a very modest home, he and his wife sold the home, piled their large family, plus 2 neighbor kids into a station wagon, and took the family to Disneyland for a week. They returned home and moved into a very small trailer. He was hard-working and was also generous with his time and talents. He loved people and people loved him. He never really had a large home, but was happy with the little trailer where he and his wife lived. After the death of his wife, each month on the day his social security check came, he went to the neighboring town to do a little gambling on the Indian reservation. He loved going golfing and spent a portion of his meager income on that hobby. On the day he died, he had no money and very little in the way of worldly possessions, but a large contingent of good friends. His children went in together to pay the funeral expenses. Within hours of his death, his few possessions had been distributed. And, since he was living in a small trailer that his children had paid for, there was nothing to leave the children....except a lasting legacy of happiness, family fun, laughter, music, and fond memories.

Ed was a stern man with his family while they were growing up. He worked hard every day and looked forward to some peace/quiet at his family table. But, he believed in paying his bills...he was very proud of the fact that he rarely owed anyone any money. He paid as he went. He saved a little money from his modest income each month, paid for his and his wife's funerals so that his children would not have to worry about that expense. After the death of his wife, he visited neighbors and friends, until they were all deceased. He found pleasure in reading his wife's journals, having his family visit, and was very proud of the fact that he had saved a small amount that he could give each child on his death (if health bills did not take the modest amount of money first). He wanted very badly to leave them a small inheritance at his death.

Ed and Carl both looked at life a little differently. Each loved life in his own way, each man was very proud of his children and the chidren honored and loved their father deeply, and each enjoyed his time on this earth.

Perhaps there are lessons to learn from both of these men.

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