It seems fitting that now, the eve of the eve of Independence Day, I should be looking at a scrapbook dedicated to Jim's paternal grandfather's service in World War II, aboard a ship that missed by less than 24 hours the bombing of Pearl Harbor and saw duty at Midway and Guadalcanal.
Paul Long, then a 17-year-old sailor, was one of the few crew members to survive the sinking of the U.S.S. Astoria in the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 in the Pacific Theater of WWII. He still had this journal when he died in 1999 at the age of 75.
My husband added in the front an explanatory page to his students when they were studying the war. He didn't have to; it was above and beyond his job description as computer media specialist at Victor Valley High School in Victorville, Calif. But it was like him; he always did far more than required. Especially when a group of students was studying WWII, or the Holocaust, or any other critical moment in human history, he always researched, tutored, even created websites for their benefit.
Of the purpose of this notebook, he writes toward the end of his handwritten note to them, "... the most important thing is that you use it as a tool to learn about true heroes and unbelievable courage."
I know that readers of this blog will agree with me that that sentence also describes Jim, whose 20th wedding anniversary with me would have been, should have been a month ago.
I wish you all peace, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness and purpose.