This Memorial Day I honor my granddad, United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Gordon Jonas. A humble man, he never spoke about his Vietnam wartime experience with us grandkids. Though highly decorated, his memorabilia was hidden away in his room.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of him taking me to the Officer’s Club at Lowry Air Force base in Aurora, CO to go swimming, bowling, or just eat breakfast with him. We would drive through the gates, and I always felt so proud when he was saluted by the young airman guarding the base. It was like I was being given a glimpse at the man he never really revealed to me. As an adult, I loved watching how animated he would get as he spoke to my husband about flying missions through the jungles of Vietnam. And I think I would have been shocked (to say the least) if I had ever overheard him and his Air Force buddies on the golf course.
My Grandfather has been gone for two years now, but his memory is with me everyday. His high expectations, sense of honor, and humility help guide me through life. This Memorial Day my family will be loading a giant truck and moving back to California. My grandfather inspired me to be my best self, follow my dreams, and live the life I always wanted. His exceptional service to our country has ensured that I can achieve all of these things.
If we were staying in town we would definitely be grilling in the back yard. Children boisterously playing, dogs barking (and chasing the kids) and adults gathered around tables laughing and relaxing. If my grandfather were here, he would have been manning the grill cooking up his signature steaks. I miss you Granddad, thank you for your service.