Friday, December 03, 2004

Great-Uncle George

Today I went with my dad to the funeral of my Great-Uncle George. Uncle George was the husband of my dad's mom's sister. He'd apparently been suffering from Alzheimer's for some time now, so this was not unexpected.

I discovered when I saw Uncle George that I _had_ seen him at some point previously in my life, although I couldn't tell you when or where. I vaguely remembered the faces of some of my dad's cousins, but apparently they all knew about me and my trip overseas, so Daddy wanted me to come along 1) to have some "quality" time with me, and 2) so that they could see that I was safe, etc.

I learned a lot about Uncle George today. He had been awarded the "Silver Beaver" which is the highest level of Scoutmaster in Boy Scouts. Both of my brothers were scouts, taking after my dad who was a scout. Apparently Uncle George got Daddy into it. My younger brother, Toby, and my dad have been teaching at a scout camp here in TN the past few years with a boy named Danny. We learned today that Danny was a grand-nephew of Uncle George as well, but on George's side instead of Elenor's (my grandmother's sister). My dad was impressed with this show of Uncle George's legacy as a scout - grand-nephews on both sides of his family were continuing the tradition of scouting without even knowing that they were related.

I was impressed with his service record. Uncle George apparently signed up for the Air Force in 1941 - just in time for WWII. No one among those I was talking to (my dad and his cousin Jerry) knew what he did in WWII. And apparently, after his term of service was over, he got out and worked elsewhere....until the Korean War started. Then he re-enlisted (!!!) and served as a navigator on 32 flights into Korea from where he was stationed in Japan.

So Great-Uncle George, I wish I'd been able to know you. You sound like you were a really cool guy. But in any case, we here at "Common Sense" salute you.

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