It's been a reminder that I am a descendant of a veteran. My grandpa Charlie was a veteran. He fought in WWII. But those facts had escaped my memory. How could I forgot that he was one?
Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Ruth (she was a working woman as well)
I forgot because he simply was grandpa to me, not war veteran. I don't recall every seeing him dress in uniform (in person; photos yes). I don't remember him sharing war stories with me. I do remember him sharing an ICEE with me at the Walmart in Lexington, Nebraska while walking around and picking out Barbie dolls and fishing lures. I remember him teaching me about gardening and how he ate green onions straight. And watching Jeopardy and cow auctions together.
I do remember one 4th of July where he was running for a local town position on the Democrat ticket. I don't remember him winning or many other details, but I do recall handing out pencils with his name on it (the things that stick with you, huh?). Grandpa Charlie is my mother's dad, and her side of the family has a long line of Democrats. On my father's side, a string of Independents.
These Two Guys!
I also come from a family of strong working women. My grandpa Charlie had 4 daughters, no sons (unless you count through marriage), and all four daughters went to college. And I think they all got master's degrees. These daughters traveled the world and have been in the workforce since the day I was born. Two of them worked while raising kids.
My dad, well he's not a veteran. He would have been a veteran of the Korean War, but he had asthma and couldn't serve (that would probably be different today with new medicine/treatments and military medical requirements). He did serve his country in his own way though; he worked on many military and government projects as engineer and researcher. I also work on a government/military project as an engineer. I come from a short line of engineers as well (as far as I know it's just me and dad, and we're literally short in height). :)
Like Father, Like Daughter
This line of engineer, veteran, Democrat, Independent, strong working woman, that is my history. It is a reflection of who I am, and well not all of my family history is good and happy, I am thankful for what these two men did so that I can be an engineer today (20% of engineering students are female, Women LeavingEngineering, if you're interested in stats).
Dad and grandpa, thank you for repeatedly telling me I could be anything I wanted to be. That you thought I could go to college (or okay, stated that I was). That you thought I could be an engineer (or vet or marine biologist or latest idea).
Thank you for never saying I belonged at home or that I was ugly or fat or that my only worth was in my looks. Thank you for encouraging me to use my mind and smarts. Thank you for your support of me in math and science (especially when I was unsure of my abilities in those subjects). Thank you both for raising strong daughters (side shout out: thank you to my mother and aunts for being role models).
Dad and grandpa, today I thank you for being that kind of man, for being my equality champion. Thank you for all that you did for me. I will continue to make you proud by being the smart, strong, hard working, female engineer that you believe in.
And Uncle Denis, Jack's Bopa, family and friends who also served, thank you for your service.
(And if your curious who my old white male of a father voted, it was for Hilary. Thanks dad!)
This picture might embarrass them, but shout out to my male cousins for being equality champions too!