With Memorial Day approaching, I always think of my Grandpa. An infantryman in WWII who lived to come home to his family.
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Dwyer's Remembrance Of His Grandfather

He was injured multiple times but didn't really talk about it too much. His spoils from the battles he won with his men by his side were quickly disposed of by a wife who had had enough of that damn war.
A decorated, wounded vet, he returned home to pick up trash in the city during the day and work as a chef at night. I had always heard the story of a German "Potato Masher" grenade injuring him the worst.
There is also a story that young ears like mine weren't supposed to hear, that he only told with likewise decorated gents at the junkyard, about the business end of a bayonet that he took to the shoulder. He brought that blade back from the war with him, so I could only imagine what became of the soldier on the other end of it.
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In fact, imagining was all I could really do when he went to his stories about his service. There was a tattoo, an anchor tribute to some memory made during a weekend pass. But none of it really became real to me until late in his life, he needed an MRI while at the hospital.

Grandfather's MRI

All of his keys, wristwatch, and rings were carefully placed in a bag in his room when he was wheeled to the imaging department. I don't remember much after that, except my mother talking to the doctors about all the quietly hiding shrapnel that the machine had dislodged, drawing to the surface through his eyes and legs from the pull of the magnet.
It was bloody, and painful no doubt. They stopped the MRI. But my grandpa didn't complain. He had seen worse. Felt worse. It told me a lot about him, and the kind of person he was. He fought the worst of the worst and came home to give us the best of the best. That's how my memorial day starts, as I'm putting out my flag.

Thank You, Veterans

Then I think of the thousands upon thousands of others who bore the burden for me, so I could have the best of the best. Not all the servicemen and women I remember today died on the battlefield. Some still paid a higher price for years upon their return home. Some are still paying. And their families continue to pay long after the tab is closed out.
My thanks to all those who paid the highest price. My freedom is born of your sweat, and blood. And my prayers to all their families for comfort that comes from knowing and supporting a hero close to their hearts.  I hope you're lucky enough to include someone in your prayers as well.  
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