Monday, November 12, 2012

A very special Veterans Day

It's kind of appropriate that Veterans Day lands in November. A lot of people use the whole month leading up to Thanksgiving as a way of taking stock of the things for which they are thankful. Growing up as an Army brat, I don't think I've ever taken for granted the people who've served in our military, but it is nice to have a day set aside especially to say thanks.

Well, last week, Molly's school sent home a flyer announcing the upcoming Veterans Day assembly. The school was putting together a slideshow for the assembly and needed people to send in pictures of any relatives who are veterans or who currently serve in the military. Then, it said that they would love for Veterans to come to the assembly to speak.

My dad is retired from the Army now, but still works full time, so he couldn't come. But, my grandpa is retired from the Marines, and I thought maybe he would like to come.

So, I went out to visit him last week to ask him about coming. When Charlotte and I got there, I asked him if he thought he might be able to do it.

"Well, I'm going to a Veteran's luncheon at JCCC, but that's not until noon, so I should be able to come," he replied. Apparently, you gotta book early to fit in the plethora of Veterans Day activities.

Then, I asked him if he had a picture for the slideshow the school was making. "I don't know. It's been 40 years, you know," he told me with a grin. Then, he disappeared for about 20 minutes. Next thing I knew, he was coming downstairs with a big album of pictures. It was this whole treasure trove of history. We looked through it together, and he told me stories about every different picture.

I took a couple pictures of the pictures, but I want to get back out there to get them all copied (with his memories about them). I know, at my age, it's pretty rare to have a grandpa still around, so I felt incredibly  lucky to have the chance to sit next to him on the couch as he shared his memories of receiving a Bronze Star for serving in the forward infantry in Korea, or of being sent to Nagasaki three weeks after the atomic bomb went off in WWII, or the fact that he was smoking cigarettes in some of the pictures because, "they were free. They sent them to us, so we smoked them."

Picture from an article about my Grandpa after he was awarded the Bronze Star.

I think this was during Korea.

Posing next to an MG. He's always loved his MGs.

Receiving the Bronze Star.

Look at that handsome guy!
He even had a picture of his own Kindergarten class in it:

He is on the third row from the front, farthest on the left. How cute is he?

So, he came over this morning, and we went to Molly's school together. The assembly was really sweet. He sat up in the front with all the other veterans who were there. My grandpa found a young Marine to chat with while we waited for the assembly to begin. During the assembly, each veteran stood up and said a little about who they were, what branch of the military they'd served in, and who they were related to at Countryside. I have to admit that I got a little teary eyed listening to my grandpa talk about his service and his life and how he loves his family, his grandchildren and now his great-grandchildren.

The Great-Grandfather (on far right) to Molly Lafferty (standing on far left). (He was, by the way, the only Great-Grandfather at the program.)

Richard J. Randolph II served in the Marines from 1943-1969. Promoted to Lt. Colonel and served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam wars.

Great-grandpa and Great-granddaughter.

And, a self-portrait with me!

After the assembly was over, I asked him if he'd been able to see Molly from where he was sitting, he said, "Yes, I could see her sitting there talking with the little boy next to her all the time." Gotta love it. Even a great-grandfather will keep an eye out for the boys hanging around the little ladies in his life.

I'm so glad that Molly's school did this, because it led me to a wonderful experience. No one knew about the  photo album, and I got to see some amazing photos and hear some amazing stories. Plus, I got to share this all with my girls and my grandpa. This Veterans Day was truly a blessed day for which I am very thankful. It wouldn't matter if the day landed in the month of April, June or November. 


  1. And- - - he still owns and drives that MG in that picture.... What a wonderful experience

  2. What a great memory for you, Molly, and him. That is awesome!