Nov 28 2007
I spoke yesterday about my Grandpa Richard. The man who I spent my life looking up to … hero worship, you might call it. He always said the right thing to me, no matter how much I didn’t know it at the time. His love was like a shield that protected me from the world … and thrust me into life with zealousness. My very own super hero!
I am proud that my Grandpa Richard’s casket flag sits with me everyday in my office. His spirit lives with me in my heart – and in that flag. Always.
I grew up in the small town of Hayward, Wisconsin. We’re talking every stereotype of what a small town is about, that’s Hayward. The school principal knew your every move, in and out of school. The local hair salon and barbershop were where you went for news of anyone and anything that happened in the town. Your neighbor knew what you were having for dinner because they saw you at the local grocer. Very small town!
One of my friends was Sandy Snyder. She, too, had her very own Richard — her dad. He was special to us then, and we spent many youthful (and beyond) days talking of our love for our Richards … and how we knew they’d someday move on to greener pastures and leave us to fend for ourselves. Sadly, Sandy lost her Richard this year (I lost mine in 1999). In honor of our amazing Richard’s, I want you to read Sandy’s son’s winning essay in honor of Veteran’s everywhere.
My Favorite Veterans
By Ian Okamoto
Veterans Day, November 11th, is one day we set aside to show our thanks for the men and women who have fought for our freedom. Even though we give thanks more often than just once a year, November 11th is a day recognized by everyone to give thanks and remember in their own way.
Veterans Day is a day for parades, speeches, parties, prayer and thanks. Some places even have Veterans Day sales. The Post Office does not deliver mail on Veterans Day. Most banks let their employees take the day off to enjoy Veterans Day in their own special way. Some family members put flags on their Veteran’s cemetery to show their respect for the courage it must have taken to fight for our country.
Veterans Day is special to me because my poppa, Richard L. Snider, was a Corporal in the Korean War. He was issued the Korean Service Medal, four Bronze stars and the United Nations Service Medal. Poppa was discharged on December 27, 1952, but never ever forgot his time in Korea. My poppa received military rites when he was buried this summer. Taps was played and my Granny received her very own flag. Poppa always had a flag hanging from his deck with a light underneath of it. This is my first Veterans Day without him. My Granny still has a flag hanging on the deck-and now she has a special flag which she keeps in a special box.
My Granddad, George Okamoto also served our country. Granddad served in World War II in the 442nd Infantry. Granddad left the Internment Camp to serve and fight for our country. He received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and other medals. He spent two years in an Army Hospital because his legs were shot full of ammunition. Granddad and Poppa never talked much about their time at war.
I hope everyone takes time on Veterans Day to thank the men and women who fight for our freedom.