My grandfather fought in World War 2 and my grandmother "entertained the troops" I'm still wondering what that entailed but I'm pretty sure it goes a long way to explaining much of my behaviour (who would have thought skankiness was hereditary???). So, my grandfather was severely blown up in World War 2 and left for dead by some water way somewhere (PNG I'm pretty sure). This one soldier decided that he couldnt just leave him there to die alone and insisted they take him with them. My grandfather was taken to a hospital where he spent 12 months recovering from major shrapnel injuries. After 12 months he was put before a board and asked how he was doing - he being a stoical Aussie - of course, was doing well so back they sent him (WW2 went for like 6 years or so). And who was the training officer he was sent to to be retrained - yep, the soldier who saved his life. So he fought out the rest of the war and came back to marry my grandmother (who was actually not a ho but a very funny lady). They bought a house and land package in Beverly Hills NSW for $6000 pounds (a fortune) and paid $2.45 a week on a special soldiers mortgage situation until the day my grandmother died in 2005.
And who lived around the corner from them? Yep the soldier who saved his life.
In 1998 I went to visit this soldier on death's door in a nursing home and everyone knew he was suffering from dementia and was really very far gone. I actually think he just couldnt hear very well so I got right up close to him and thanked him for fighting in the war and saving my grandfather cause if it wasnt for him I wouldnt be here now blogging and complaining about too much food and lap banding. He looked up at me and with clear understanding and total lucidity looked me in the eye and said thank you to me because no one had ever thanked him before and he really appreciated it.
Sometime after the war my grandfather was instructed to go for a War Veterans type of compensation and the law system being the way it was - everyone was knocked back first time. My grandfather comes from a long line of hard working we-dont-beg-from-anyone kinda people so he walked away. He died the year before I was born and I wish I had known him although I know he has helped me out many times in my life in ways a living grandfather just isnt capable of doing.
Many many years later about 3 years before my grandmother died the Department of Veterans Affairs contacted her and told her that she was actually eligible for the Veterans Pension my grandfather should have received 30 odd years before. She was back paid for about 5 years and given some very nice special treatment before she died (the house was fitted out with handy bits and pieces for an older lady as well as pedicures, special chairs and preferencial medical treatment). I like to think it was my grandfather looking after her in her final years.
Oh and by the way, the house was still being paid off at $2.45 a week until about 1995!
I am 100% against war and fighting but I think the bravery and courage of ordinary people who (either voluntarily or compulsorily) go into terrifying situations and risk their lives for what they believe in should not go unnoticed.