He graduated and passed the Georgia Bar without the support of his parents, who thought a high school education was more than you needed to get by in life. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and witnessed the aftermath of WWII, but he always claimed that he never shot anybody. He even consistently retold one story about a freezing cold night during WWII; He almost shot a German soldier, but his gun jammed because it was so cold and the soldier ran away. He was always so proud of the fact the he never harmed another person, even though he served in the military and went undercover for the Secret Service on many occasions. He lived through way more than I could ever imagine. When he was my age, he was married with his first child on the way. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to support his family and succeed in his career without sacrifice.
By the time I was born, he was retired. We immediately connected. It's hard to explain, but I somehow knew that I could do no wrong in his eyes. He truly loved his wife, children, and grandchildren unconditionally with all of his heart! I always wanted to make him proud, but I knew that he would be proud of me even if I did not accomplish anything.
I miss him more than words can express. I am so lucky that I was able to meet him and learn from him. I only have happy memories, but it makes me sad to know that my children will not be able to meet him on this earth. One day I hope to be the hero in my grandchildren's eyes, but my Papa leaves some pretty big shoes to fill!
Happy Birthday Papa!!