My grandparents were heroes

  • Published
  • By Capt. S.J. Brown
  • 934 AW Public Affairs
"A child needs a grandparent, anybody's grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world." -- Charles and Ann Morse

Nestled between strange holidays such as National Sewing Machine Day (Sept. 10) and National Chocolate Milk Shake Day (Sept. 12) is National Grandparent's Day, held the first Sunday after Labor Day. This year, in my opinion, it seems fitting that we honor grandparents on the same day as we honor those who died during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

My maternal grandparents were heroes in my mind. They may have died from age and disease and not in a terrorist attack but I'm a firm believer that we should honor the lives of those who perish rather than the way they perished. Let's look at all the things grandparents do for their children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren. Let's honor the way they live and how they give back to their country.

My grandparents were there to take care of me when my father died at the age of 33, leaving a young wife and three very young daughters. My grandparents were there to help when there were more bills than money and more mouths to feed than food. The sacrifices they made to ensure my sisters and I were loved, properly cared for, well-mannered and educated went above and beyond. They shaped me into what I am today.

Not all grandparents are as involved as mine were, but grandparents tend to play vital roles in the shaping of future generations because they raise the children who, in turn, raise us. For example, we wouldn't have had the 23rd president of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, had it not been for the efforts of his grandfather, (ninth U.S. president) William Henry Harrison. And where would the art world be now without Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses)? Regardless of whether your grandparents were "good" or "bad" -- you should be able to learn from bad examples as well as good examples -- they are an essential part of your life. Without them, let's face it, you wouldn't be here - literally.

Perhaps you do not have biological grandparents but unofficially "adopted" ones. If you are in need of a grandmother or grandfather figure, try volunteering to read to, or run errands for, an elderly resident at the nearby veteran's home or your local assisted living village. Let's admit it, we could all use some advice from an older and much wiser generation. Who knows? You might get some cookies out of your volunteer efforts.

On this Sept. 11 Remembrance Day, we will definitely remember the lives of those who perished in the terrorist attacks. However, we should also remember those who likely shaped their lives, grandparents. If possible, to thank them (and possibly give the U.S. Postal Service some business), send your grandma/grandpa a card or write about them below. Did your grandparents raise you, inspire you, motivate you? Tell us about them.