I know this post is completely different from my other relatively tech-related posts, but I wanted to take today to blog about my uncle and U.S. Army veteran, Warren Anderson.
Uncle Warren (born December 9, 1921) was a radio gunner during the second world war. His plane was shot down over the Alps where he proceeded parachute down to be captured by the Nazis as a prisoner of war along with his surviving crew members. Oddly enough, he remembered being treated relatively well despite nearly starving to death – noting that the Nazis who held them captive had barely anything to eat themselves as it was nearing the end of the war.
Once he was freed, he returned to the United States where he went to school to earn his bachelor’s in agricultural science and spent the remainder of his working years as an employee with the U.S. Geological Survey keeping track of Florida’s water levels. He met his wife, Helen, at his place of work and they were married for many years until her death in 2005. They had no children, so in his old age when my parents and I moved in to take care of him, I became the child he never had.
One of my fondest memories of us together is 10-year-old-me purposely running into walls to get a big ol’ laugh out of him the same way he did while watching Tom and Jerry with me. Seeing an old man laugh his butt off due to my comedy skit was one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever been given. His calm, cheerful demeanor was the balance to my grumpy dad’s personality. He was a second father to me.
And to my utter dismay, Uncle Warren passed away on May 7, 2015 at 93-years-old – a solid decade after we moved in together. Receiving that phone call from the hospital thinking he was going to come home in just a few days was one of the worst moments of my life. It affected me to the point that I developed anxiety and dropped out of my university (his alma mater) because I was just so lost. I’m currently back in school with a clear picture of what I want to do in life – all thanks to him providing the funds for me to do so. Even in death, he still looks out for me.
I solidly believe that my parents’ decision to move in and take care of him gave my uncle an extra 10 years of life. Thanks, Mom and Dad – but especially Mom for welcoming her brother-in-law into our family dynamic and taking care of all of his needs every single day for the remainder of his life. I’m glad he became a daily part of my growing up, and I miss him dearly and think about him fondly on days like today.
Happy Veteran’s Day, Uncle Warren and to all who have served or are currently serving our country!