Remembering the Veterans Who Put the “E” in Todd E. Lyons
Veterans Day is, obviously, today, but, more importantly, it's about remembering those who served and, especially, those that are no longer with us.
I'd like to share a couple of men whom I will especially be thinking of. In fact, they are the men that put the "E" in Todd E. Lyons.
He served in the U.S. Navy. My dad (seen in the black and white wallet-sized picture I'm holding) still keeps the certificate that commemorated my granddad's crossing of the Equator while at sea framed and hanging in his house
He passed away from cancer when my dad was a teenager. My father's aunts and uncles would often tell me how much I reminded them of "Eddie."
Obviously, I never met him, but someday I hope I do. Anchors aweigh, Grandpa Lyons!
The second man I'd like to introduce you to is my maternal grandfather, Edward Joseph Gleeson.
"Papa" was a Merchant Marine as well as a soldier in the U.S. Army. He stormed the beach at Normandy, France, as part of the Third Wave of the D-Day invasion during WWII, doing two tours of duty. He was the kid of a New Jersey cop (trouble!) and a proud Irishman. He most famously painted the top of the Space Needle in Seattle when it was newly constructed for the World's Fair in 1962.
He had the best war stories ever. When we were kids, he would show us the scars from getting bayoneted by a "kraut." He had scars that wrapped around his midsection, a couple-of-inches-long stab wound above his shoulder blade and another battle wound that ran right between his legs through his groin. He almost, and probably should have, died that day.
I'm glad he didn't ... He died April 10, 1994, at the age of 77. My life is better for having had him in it. I miss him a lot.
Here he is pictured with my grandma not too long before he passed away.
If you haven't "done the math" by now, then I will tell you that the "E" in Todd E. Lyons stands for "Edward" -- the first name of both of my grandfathers. I couldn't be more proud to carry on their legacy through my middle name. In fact, so much so, it is the middle name I bestowed upon my son Drew as well.
R.I.P. to my grandfathers this Veterans Day to and those you are thinking of fondly today and a shout to my father, Don Lyons, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division in the US Army. He was a Rigger (parachute packer) and Paratrooper.
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