Living Lessons: Grandpas, Guilt and Gratitude

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Dave Kovar's Living Lessons

Dave Kovar's Living LessonsMy children have been blessed to have all four of their grandparents alive, healthy and living close to them. Each grandparent is amazing in his or her own way, and both grandpas are veterans. Both of them saw lots of action.

My father is a veteran of WWII. He flew eleven missions in the European theater as a bombardier and navigator before being shot down. He was a prisoner of war for a year and survived two death marches before General Patton freed him.

My father-in-law, Ray Ybarra, is a veteran of the Korean War. He saw several months of combat as an infantryman advancing on the North Koreans before he nearly lost his life from shrapnel wounds from a hand grenade. Severely wounded, he was shipped home—along with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart— where he underwent several surgeries that would eventually enable him to live a normal life.

I am very proud of both of these men. They are real American heroes who experienced pain and hardships that I can only imagine. I have a great deal of respect for all of our men and women in arms. And I must admit that I’ve often felt a real sense of guilt for not answering the call of duty and serving my country as a soldier like they did.

In my better moments, though, I understand that guilt doesn’t serve anyone well, so I try to shift to feeling a sense of gratitude for all those who have served and are currently serving in the military. That gratitude drives me to want to serve my country and the world in the only way I know how, by trying to be the best teacher, boss, father, friend and husband that I can.

So what do you feel guilty about? Any chance you can change that guilt into gratitude and let your gratitude drive you to be the best you can be?

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