Dosquatch I have a man's signet ring. It is forged of stainless steel, with the letters inlaid in gold. It says 'EW'. These initials are not mine.

The initials belong to a WWII veteran who served as a field medic.

He was a kind and giving man, full of love for everyone. When his family fell on hard times, he dropped out of school so he could work, so that his brothers and sisters would have a better opportunity than he did. When he left that job, it was with a letter from his supervisor saying that he was the hardest working, most ethically centered, best grounded person that had ever worked there, and any employer who didn't hire him on the spot was a damned fool. I've seen this letter.

He met the love of his life in 1941. They were married by the spring of 1942. He gave her all the love any person could want, and more.

In the fall of 1942, just a few months after, he received a letter saying that his country needed his services. He went without hesitation, because he was needed. He left his brand new bride, because he believed it was the right thing to do, and because he believed that it would make the world better for the people he loved. He, and thousands of others. But, he told them, please don't make me shoot people.

So he became a field medic, and an ambulance driver. He would run to the front lines to retrieve the wounded, and he would bring them back to the doctors so that they might live. Many of them didn't, and he grieved for them all.

And then he became the wounded. On one of his trips to the front line, a buzz bomb landed nearby, and a piece of stainless steel shrapnel hit him in head, embedding itself into the bone above his left eye.

When he recovered, he had the chunk of stainless formed into a ring. A momento, a reminder, of what he and thousands like him went through.

He came back home in 1945, having served his country without ever firing a shot. He went back home to his wife, whom he was married to until the day he died - not long after their 62nd anniversary.

He spent 85 years, loving and caring and giving. He was the best person I've ever known, and he was my Grandpa.

And now I have his ring. I wish I had him instead.
magpie . 040510
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