WWI and WWII.

My great grandfather didn’t speak English and worked in the boiler room of a destroyer. He learned English after the war while riding trains from SF to NY in order to receive his naturalization papers. He grew up on his family’s farm in Calabria and ran away from home to the US when he was a teenager. He was the only person in his family to leave Italy. He lived until he was 102 years old and gave a taped interview detailing all the places he visited. I remember him laughing until he cried when my dad brought my brother and I out from AZ to NY for his 100th birthday. He couldn’t not believe a man could bring kids across the country by himself.

My grandfather never talked about the war, only saying he jumped out of planes. I was able to find his regiment. They flew gliders that were pulled by planes over enemy lines. Pretty ballsy stuff. I used to go watch Phoenix Cardinals games with him, my dad and 1,000 other people back when they played in Sun Devil stadium, all of us sweating our asses off, being cooked alive by the aluminum seats.