Many of us will spend this Memorial Day on a beach. Collecting shells, throwing a football or just laying around getting a tan. We are able to enjoy our day at the beach because 71 years ago, Allied forces had a very different experience on the beaches of Normandy. My grandfather Richard Gaylord was among the troops in that invading force. As an artillery spotter, he hit the coast of France four days after D-Day to find the enemy tanks and Howitzers that were still pounding the Allied liberation force. He was able to help destroy enemy gun positions, but saw his college roommate killed in the process.
Grandaddy was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in France and I’ve always thought that he had a lot to be proud of. Even though I always considered him a war hero, he never seemed to want to talk about it much. I always admired him for his heroism, but looking back I admire him for his humility, too. I used to call Grandaddy every Memorial Day to thank him for his service and if you know someone who has ever given of themselves to preserve the freedom we enjoy, I encourage you to do the same. Even if you’re calling from the beach.