Right now as I type this, my family is on a road trip. They’re “up north” visiting friends and family in Iowa and Ohio. I moved to Florida from Iowa in 1995 and I really do miss my family. It is difficult living so far from the people that meant everything to me for the first 18 years of my life.

A week ago or so, I saw a post in a Facebook group for the small town I grew up in. A group member’s 94 year old father recently passed away. Of course there were the condolences one would expect. At 94, it’s reasonable to assume he lived a full life, and the photo she posted depicted him with a smile on his face.

Reflections on my Time with The Greatest Generation

Of course, that got me to thinking about my own grandparents, as they would be the same age. They’re part of “The Greatest Generation”, but there are fewer and fewer of them around with us today, as they age well into their 90’s. I was fortunate to grow up many years with all 4 of my grandparents. The first to pass, my Grandpa Ruyter, did so when I was an adult. He was into his mid-80’s and had lived a good life. My grandma Ruyter followed him in the late-2000’s and my grandpa Ward less than two years ago.

Travel Far Travel Near But Just Travel - Grandma at the Cemetery

My grandmother at the cemetery

All that remains of the Greatest Generation in my family now is my grandmother, Irene. I think about her all the time; spending time with her and grandpa in their rural Iowa home. Staying overnight at their home in the summers and exploring the river and rail road bridge near their house. I think about the ticking of the many coo-coo clocks they had and the songs of the grandfather clock my grandpa made himself.

I try to visit Iowa frequently, but inevitably it’s never frequent enough. I know that I don’t have many years left with her, but I am so glad that my family will get to see her this week.

Walking with Grandpa in San Francisco

Walking with Grandpa in San Francisco

I think about my grandparents a lot – especially a trip my grandpa Walter and I took to California in 2008. He had never been to the west coast before, so I planned a trip for he and I to explore Northern California together. I will never forget that trip with him and how it provided so many memories for both of us that not even time can take a way.

My grandfather and I, Golden Gate Bridge

My grandfather and I, Golden Gate Bridge

“The Greatest Generation” is leaving us and I will miss every single one of them. They are a precious resource we will soon no longer be able to draw from. They provided and sacrificed so much for us, as a nation and as a world. I mourn the loss of each and every one of them. If you still have parents, grandparents or great-grandparents from that generation, why not take a moment to give them a call? I bet they would love to hear your voice, too.

Would you do me a favor? Would you share memories and photos of those in your family from “The Greatest Generation”, too? You can share the photos on our website, here or on social media using the hashtag #Dadtography.

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