Todd’s Take: Thinking Of My Grandfathers On Memorial Day
Memorial Day is, obviously, today, but, more importantly, it's about remembering those who served. Some 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. The first is my paternal grandfather, Edward Wallace Lyons. His middle name is an homage to the iconic Scottish hero William Wallace whom the movie "Braveheart" focused on.
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 had the best war stories ever. When we were kids, he would show us the scars from getting bayonetted 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.
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 and to those you are thinking of fondly today.