Friday, February 6, 2015

Tribute to my Father in Law...a Truly Great Man

During the age of what many call the Greatest Generation there lived the quiet and unassuming lives of those that served.  Not only in the defense of our country but to those they married, their partners, their children and also to those in the community; those sacrifices helped to mold their lives in such a profound manner as to create within each of these men the overwhelming desire to continually push forward, never letting up, dedicating their lives for others.   Forged perhaps because of the conflicts of war and the sacrifices endured but even more from a deep inner soul innate from birth to know the differences between good and evil, right and wrong, they made the tough choices and we are the beneficiaries of their greatness.

My Father in law was one of these great men.  I am grateful for his example and the many words of wisdom whispered in my ear as I learned to be a father and needed advice.  My gratitude is eternal toward him and for my mother in law for helping to raise my son when we had to make the hard choice of letting him leave home at an early age to further his education.  They were his parents away from home, they did their duty well.

Royce Bonds is the quintessential personification of what the “greatest Generation” is all about.  His life, his demeanor, his humor and his dedication all tell the story of who he really was; a loving, hard working, driven man who worked and served others.  He was charitable and stern and lived his life according to the principles of his chosen beliefs.  He never faltered and stayed true to the very end.

As his oldest and only son in law I am uniquely thankful for the way I was accepted into his family of five competing boys and one extraordinarily beautiful girl.  I remember him pulling me aside, just before our wedding and he asked me, with a tear in his eye to take care of his most precious daughter.  His voice faltered and cracked but he didn't tell me, he didn't threaten, but softly and kindly asked me to watch over her and care for her. 

In his eyes I could see the love he had, the worry and excited prospect of giving his daughter away.  I learned from that one instance how precious a child can be and in his case how prized and grateful he was for his one and only daughter.  That one lesson helped me to raise my own family, looking into their little faces as each made their way into life, their eyes looking into mine with that innocent understanding of faith and security. 

Royce taught us all how to be numbered among the greatest generation, how to work, how to love and how to serve.  My prayer is a simple one; help us to be more like him.

Royce Bonds one of the Greatest of the Greatest Generation. 

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