About a year ago, my Papa (dad's dad) took a trip to Washington, DC with other veterans from his local community. As part of that experience, family members and friends of the veterans took some time to write them letters thanking them for their service to our country. I wrote one for Papa.
I've thought this morning about whether or not I wanted to put this letter on my blog. While it's a letter that I wrote solely for him (and not for anyone else's eyes), a year later I look back on it and think that I someday want my kids to have it. To know how I put my feelings about gratitude for veterans and love for God and family into words for Papa.
And then, to top it off, I remembered that not many people outside of my family read this anyway, so it's not like I'm sharing my personal thoughts with the world or anything...
So here goes. On Veteran's Day, a quick shout-out to one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE veterans. My Papa.
November 15, 2008
Hi! Dad has told me about the awesome trip you've been on today. I'm sure it has brought back many memories of your time in the service. Both good and bad.
I am glad that as part of this trip I'm getting the chance to take some time to thank you. For so many things that I have never put into words to you (either spoken or written). I am just hopeful I can do justice to what you deserve to hear from me today...
First, in light of your trip today, thank you for what you did for our country. I know that sounds cliche, but I like to think there is a reason that a phrase becomes over-used. Because it's the best way to say something, right? I can only imagine being 18 or 19 years old and taking the step that you took - one of uncertainty and probably quite a bit of fear of the unknown. You put your life on the line every day for the future of your family. Not many people can claim that same thing. What an amazing thing to be able to say that you did with your life!
Second, thank you for finding the most wonderful woman with whom to spend your life. If the two of you hadn't found each other, I wouldn't be able to say that I have the best grandparents a person could ever imagine. I know that life in a marriage is not always easy (and I'm only 4 1/2 years in!), but the way the two of you continue to live your lives as a loving couple sets the most amazing example for all those who are lucky enough to know you.
Third, thank you and Granny for raising four kids of whom I am SO proud to have in my family. Now that I'm older and wiser, I can even say that about my dad. HA!!!! In all seriousness, though, your extended family is full of four separate families in whose homes love for God and for family reigns supreme. That's no coincidence, of course. It's a direct result of the upbringing that your kids experienced in your home. I hope that you are able to look at all of us now and be as proud of us as we are of you for starting our family.
Fourth, finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank you for raising my dad into a family that believes in and loves the Lord with all your hearts. By putting your trust in Him, you have shown your children (and their children, and their children) how to do the same thing. What greater gift could you give your family than the knowledge of God's love? I can only hope that I will instill in my children the same values and love of the Lord that you were able to in yours.
Papa, you and Granny have been, and continue to be, the ultimately role models for how to raise a family of which every member is proud to be a part. What a legacy you have begun for the Schaeperkoetters! I'm more proud of you than you could ever know. And I'm so thankful for this opportunity to finally be able to tell you.
All my love,