while scrolling through Twitter

a story about Donald Trump

opened the gates of memory.

Passing through

I found myself sitting

on my grandparents’ living room couch.

How many times did I ask

Grandpa Lapidus

to show me his WWII medals?

When I held the Purple Heart

that he earned

courtesy of shrapnel

at the Battle of the Bulge

I felt a strange and undeniable

sense of pride.

My grandfather was a hero.

And then looking in a picture book of the war

At a line of men waiting for a donut and coffee

He pointed to one and said

“that’s me.”

I stared at the picture

and held that medal

countless times.

It’s been at least 25 years since my grandfather and I

sat on the living room couch.

The couch, my grandfather, and the Purple Heart

are all gone.

And that’s okay.

It’s the way the world works.

As the officiating rabbi at his funeral

I had the honor of eulogizing him

Close to a decade ago.

But even then I’m not sure that I passed through

the gates of this memory.

Only yesterday

while scrolling through Twitter

Thanks to Trump.

My grandfather never wanted a Purple Heart.

I remember him

when asked

gently describing


as hell on earth.

And though he never wanted a Purple Heart

Of one thing I am sure.

My grandfather earned it.

My Late Grandfather’s Purple Heart

2 thoughts on “My Late Grandfather’s Purple Heart

  • August 4, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I left this comment on Facebook but also wanted to leave it on your blog. So glad you are doing this. It gives your SF contingent a chance to see what you are up to!
    My Dad, your grandfather, was one of many WWII veterans who kept their war experiences locked away and rarely talked about them. He was a medic in the infantry and saw more horrors in his war years than any young man should have to experience. I knew he was the recipient of a purple heart and a bronze star but he said little about his actual experiences. In his final years, he talked a lot about the war. It was as if a dam had burst and he had to get it all out before he was no longer here to tell about it. I always knew my Dad was an amazing man but was even more in awe of him after hearing about the depth of his sacrifice for our country. Thanks for remembering him.

    • August 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Nora, thank you for posting here. Facebook is so ephemeral, I’m grateful to have your thoughts on this page!!!

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