On this Veterans’ Day, I wonder a lot about my grandfather, Alfred. Actually, both of my grandfathers were named Alfred, but today, I am wondering about this Alfred.
My paternal grandfather Alfred came to the United States as a very young man, coming from somewhere in the Balkans. It seems like it probably was from Latvia, but we aren’t completely sure of that. He arrived in the United States, became a citizen, married, had children, divorced, married again, and fathered my dad.
Along the way, he enlisted to fight in World War 1 — long before there was a real rush of Americans enlisting. This is a picture of him in his cavalry uniform. I would love to know why he enlisted so early. I know he went to Europe, I know that he suffered through, and survived, trench warfare.
My grandfather died more than thirty years before I was born, and he has been gone almost eighty years now. He died when my dad was only three years old. So even my dad has very, very few memories of him, and certainly, never asked him about why he enlisted.
After the war, Alfred was a court translator. He worked in Boston, making sure that people that came before the bench knew what was happening, that it was in language they understood. I really like that idea — he was protecting the rights of others almost a hundred years ago!
So today, I honor Alfred, and all our veterans. I give thanks for their sense of duty and honor, and I am thankful for them protecting the rights and freedoms of others.