I recoginze that yesterday wasn’t Veteran’s Day, the day that our country has designated as the day to honor our military veterans. That was Wednesday. However, yesterday, Friday the 13th, was a day that I spent time visiting with a veteran — my father in law. George Bove. I have seen the pictures: 6 ft plus, barrel chest, thick, wavy hair . . . the sort of picture of a man we remember from World War II, America’s greatest generation. Unfortunately, time and life erode some of those features. He is still tall but much thinner. His hair is now white and thick for his age but not the mane that I saw in those old sepia colored photos. I visited him in the hospital yesterday and spent a good couple of hours with he and my mother-in-law.
If you ever wondered where the phrase “they just don’t make ’em like that anymore” came from, you need look no further than my father in law. No matter how much discomfort he was/is in, whenever a nurse comes by and politely inquires “how are you?”, he answers “ok”, “fine” or “I don’t need anything”. He never complains . . . ever! As an example, even when he fell and broke his hip . . . he crawled to the door rather than scream aloud so that he wouldn’t alarm my mother in law. When I was leaving the hospital yesterday, he was only thinking of me and the time it took to visit — “it’s too far to come visit me . . . don’t waste the time.”
I thought of how he raised my wife and instilled in her the strength that I admire and respect. How scared he must’ve been as a young man in WWII when he landed in Europe, seeing friends and fellow soldiers die. How he must’ve gritted his teeth, swallowed his fear and forged ahead. How he was shot and wounded in WWII. How he worked 3 jobs to provide for his family and has the fierce undying loyalty of his children, who never complain that he “wasn’t there for them” because he was. How he sacrificed for my wife, my children, me . . . and you! They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.
George. Thank you for your service to this country, your family and my loved ones. You’ve done so much and come so far for us. I can make the drive again to visit you and will soon.