All of our lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Memorial Day is fast approaching, and let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands who gave their lives protecting our freedom.

For the first decade of my life, my parents and I lived with my grandmother. She was a loving woman who enjoyed her children and grandchildren. She filled her home with pictures and I was especially drawn to the pictures of a man dressed in a military uniform.

One afternoon my grandmother saw me standing in front of his picture. In broken Italian, she told me about the man in the frame. “He’s my son Sullivan,” she gently held my face while smiling ear to ear, “You resemble him.” Without knowing, my grandmother planted a seed, which developed into a passion for watching any movie or documentary about World War II. Life went on and many years later I have the same picture in my home.

With the emergence of the internet and the evolution of war-related movies, I began watching older men, who fought in World War II and Korea opening up about their experiences. For those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, we had no idea we were walking the streets alongside what has been deemed the “Greatest Generation.” No one I knew talked about wartime experiences. They appeared busy raising families and going to work.